Russell Martin name what has surprise him about Saints lately and identify where to strengthen

Russell Martin makes candid admission amid poor Southampton form
Martin has admitted his surprise that the Saints’ past failure has affected them so much this term.

Southampton boss Russell Martin has admitted that the Saints’ hangover from a tough past 12-18 months has been bigger than he expected, speaking to the Daily Echo.

Last season was traumatic for the Saints, who struggled under Ralph Hasenhuttl during the early stages of the campaign.

And things didn’t really improve following his departure, with Nathan Jones and then Ruben Selles failing to do enough to keep the south-coast outfit afloat in the Premier League.

They then faced a big summer following their relegation – and quite a few key players including Romeo Lavia, Tino Livramento and former captain James Ward-Prowse all left St Mary’s.

Southampton – 2023/24 Departures
Player Name Signed For Loan/Permanent
Romeo Lavia Chelsea Permanent (fee involved)
Tino Livramento Newcastle United Permanent (fee involved)
James Ward-Prowse West Ham United Permanent (fee involved)
Nathan Tella Bayer Leverkusen Permanent (fee involved)
Mohammed Salisu Monaco Permanent (fee involved)
Moussa Djenepo Standard Leige Permanent (fee involved)
Mislav Orsic Trabzonspor Permanent (fee involved)
Armel Bella-Kotchap PSV Loan
Duje Caleta-Car Lyon Loan
Mohamed Elyounoussi FC Copenhagen Permanent
Ibrahima Diallo Al-Duhail SC Permanent
Dan Nlundulu Bolton Wanderers Permanent
Romain Perraud OGC Nice Loan
Lyanco Al-Gharafa SC Loan
Mateusz Lis Goztepe Loan
Theo Walcott Retired
Willy Caballero Retired
Paul Onuachu Trabzonspor Loan

They also hired Russell Martin, with plenty of changes occurring on the south coast in recent months.

Thankfully for them, they managed to recruit some gifted players and this previously allowed them to assert themselves as promotion favourites, with the Saints making a reasonably decent start to the season.

Southampton’s rocky period

Omari Hutchinson Ipswich Town

After claiming 10 points from 12 in their opening four league games of the season, things have been tough for them since then.

Losing 5-0 away at Sunderland just before the international break, they suffered another heavy defeat in the following game against Leicester City, suffering a 4-1 defeat at St Mary’s against Enzo Maresca’s side.

Unable to respond after that, they lost 1-0 at home to recently promoted team Ipswich Town and despite going 1-0 up at Middlesbrough on Saturday, they lost that game 2-1.

With these results in mind, Martin will be under real pressure sooner rather than later unless results start to improve.

They can’t get much worse at the moment, so things can surely only get better for the Saints who will be desperate to be at the right end of the division sooner rather than later.

Speaking about their woes, Martin said: “It’s not a quick fix at the club. It’s been a tough year, 18 months and there has been a huge hangover from that. Probably bigger than we thought, but we will continue to be all in and give everything that we have got to give the fans a team to be proud of.

“We are going through a really tough period at the minute, maybe more than ever, but I understand the frustration.

“We have to keep working. It’s as simple as that.”

What needs to change at Southampton?

Their defensive record needs to improve if they want to have any chance of being successful.

And they also need to cut out unforced errors.

Mason Holgate dawdled on the ball for Boro’s first goal and considering it was so close to half-time, he will be gutted because that was arguably a turning point in the game.

Going forward, they certainly have the quality to get themselves on the scoresheet regularly, but even with Taylor Harwood-Bellis at the back, they aren’t keeping clean sheets.

Swansea City looked defensively vulnerable under Martin at times too – and that current Southampton weakness could lead to his sacking.

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