HAVING been a little critical of Claude Puel’s tactics last year, I desperately wanted to support our new manager and hoped that we would have a more positive start to this season at St Mary’s.

However, like many thousands of fans, I have been leaving the stadium after most games completely dejected, disappointed and angry.

Mauricio Pellegrino is a huge improvement in his press conferences and interviews. He speaks good English and has personality. However, I am not sure that he is watching the same games as the rest of us. “I think we play well,” he said after the Burnley game.

Well, Mr Pellegrino, most fans who know anything about football and tactics, etc, would disagree with you!

If you are only playing with one striker up front – which has rarely been successful for Saints – it needs to be a target man. Tall and imposing like Pelle or Lambert. I feel so sorry for Gabbiadini. Full of skill, full of running, but the midfield seem to forget he’s there. Instead of sending him quick early balls to run on to, they are more concerned with beating as many players as possible and then turning inside to beat them again! Especially Boufal and Redmond who both produce something special about once every five or six games. That’s a luxury we can’t afford.

Also, our crosses hardly ever get near the head of a Saints player. When you’re playing against tall defenders with shorter strikers you need two up front supporting each other.

We must get into the habit of going forward. Not just sideways or back. Obvious? Well tell the team that. Our players also look less fit than most of our opponents. Perhaps Pellegrino could talk to his mate Pochettino about how to get them fit and fast, as we were under Poch’s management. Maybe watching videos of Tottenham or Leicester on the break would show them how it’s done.

We are entering a very critical period. Please play two up front, please get early balls to the strikers and please go forward.

We all want and deserve to see more chances created and more goals. We all love the Saints but many fans are getting disillusioned.

I am sure our new Chinese owners won’t be too happy that we are going in the wrong direction – both on the pitch and in the league table!


John Carter