MAYA Yoshida has urged Saints to put the smiles back on supporters’ faces in their season finale against Stoke on Sunday, following a frustrating goalless draw against Manchester United.
Manolo Gabbiadini missed a penalty early on as Saints, for the fourth game in a row, drew a blank at home – which meant Claude Puel’s men have scored just 17 goals in 18 outings at St Mary’s this term.
The fans have been dissatisfied with Saints’ home performances for some time and showed their emotions again by booing at certain points in the 0-0 draw.
“We rotated the players this week [against Middlesbrough] and I think the manager (Claude Puel) thought the attackers were fresh,” explained Yoshida.
“But it still wasn’t enough. There’s small things [to rectify], but hopefully against Stoke we can change that.
“I want to finish the season very strongly and with a lot of smiles and hopefully get three points in the end.”
“Stoke are struggling as well,” he added, “We have an opportunity to get many goals hopefully, but my job is to make the defence solid.
“I’ve got to focus on that but also chances from set pieces.”
The Japan international was taking the positives from the Red Devils result, having sealed a 14th Premier League clean sheet in the game against Jose Mourinho’s side.
But he had mixed emotions after failing to dispatch United, who he says “looked like they didn’t even want to play”.
“I’m split,” he said, “because every single game as a defender our aim to make a clean sheet and we did it today.
“In terms of the defensive display and our part in the game I’m very happy.
“But after the game I feel we should have won this game. We should have done better, especially in front of goal and attacking stuff.
“We had more opportunities and Manchester United are not the level they used be and it looked like they didn’t even want to play, especially the right-back (Eric Bailly).
“This, for me, is very strange. It was a huge opportunity to get three points, so, as I say, I’m half disappointed.”