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Adkins confesses that Saints' ambitions have changed

First published in Sport

He started the season with visions of Europe, but Saints manager Nigel Adkins has accepted that the club must now instead turn their attention to a “relegation dogfight”.

The Premier League new boys host Swansea tomorrow, as they bid to improve on their record of four points from their opening ten matches.

Adkins had stated at the start of the season that Saints’ ambition for the campaign should have been to strive for a European place.

However, weighed down by conceding a league-high 28 goals, the club find themselves rooted to the bottom of the table with more than a quarter of the season now gone.

Adkins admits that the outlook has changed as a result, but is still adamant that it will end up being a “very successful” year for his team.

Saints could use a win tomorrow if there is any chance of that promise being fulfilled, as the club kick-off a run of fixtures that will see them play four home games in their next six matches.

“It is massively important in respect that it is the next run of fixtures that we’ve got,” said Adkins.

“We cannot do anything to affect the ten games we’ve had previously. We’ve put them to bed now.

“We move on and we look forward to the next ones with positivity, with a steely resolve.

“Our aspiration at the start of the campaign, we’ve had to assess that and address that.

“We’re in a relegation dogfight and we’re fighting. Everyone is well aware of that.

“People have to be accountable, players have to take responsibility like every other member of staff.

“The supporters are certainly behind the football club and the players when they go on that football pitch, which is important.

“We’re all going to work hard to make this a very successful season for Southampton.”

Saints go into the weekend five points adrift of safety and, while the table is only now beginning to really take shape, Adkins admits the club don’t have time to spare when it comes to winning games.

“We’ve got to start getting points on the board,” he said.

“We’ve got to have that winning mentality that we’ve had for the last few years at the football club.

“We’ve just had ten games. We’ve assessed where we are, we have to accept the situation, but we’ve got to keep moving forward.”

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