Nigel Adkins says Southampton deserve place in the Premier League

Daily Echo: Adkins: We deserve our Premier place Adkins: We deserve our Premier place

NIGEL ADKINS will remind his Saints players of one, vital message as they prepare to walk out to face champions Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday – you have earned the right to be here.

With the majority of the first team having not experienced the Premier League before, you could forgive them for feeling a bit intimidated as the glare of the cameras, the faces of Tevez, Kompany and co on the opposite side of the tunnel and the roar of virtually 50,000 expectant fans hits them square in the face.

It will be a moment to take a deep breath, to compose, to get ready for battle.

Adkins will be reminding his players that they have fought to get to this point and they deserve to be there.

“I can’t wait to go there, I’m really looking forward to it – the whole football club is, especially the players,” said Adkins.

“At the end of the day a few years ago we were at the bottom of League One and could dream of being there but now we’re there on merit.

“We’ve earned the right to be there and we’re going to go there and give it everything we’ve got.

“It’s a great game for us.

“Two years ago we were playing teams in League One and now we’re playing teams in the Premier League and what a great way to start the campaign.”

It’s a turnaround that Adkins has masterminded.

Yes, Alan Pardew certainly deserves his share of the credit as well for recruiting so much of the squad, but Adkins is the man with the back-toback promotions on his record.

And, make no mistake, he is not there just for the ride.

There is much talk in Saints circles of a target of a top-half finish being handed to Adkins and the squad.

That seems an ambitious ask given the lack of recruitment in the summer and a preseason campaign that has received mixed reviews.

But, inspired by the achievements of Swansea and Norwich, two of last year’s newly promoted sides who finished 11th and 12th respectively, Saints are aiming high.

“When you look at it, the teams that went up give the belief that it is possible to stay up,” reflected Adkins.

“Our ambition is higher than that, not just to stay up.

“We have been promoted and can’t just think ‘oh, we’re there now,’ and take our foot off the gas.

“We’ve got to keep working very hard which the players are and everybody at the football club is to keep raising the bar and the standards of everything we do.”

Saints go into the Premier League season with lofty goals, and not just in terms of an eventual finishing position.

Their very publicly stated aim is to get 50 per cent of their first team made up of academy products within a reasonable timeframe.

The likes of Luke Shaw and James Ward-Prowse have been drafted into the squad this season as that steps up a pace, but it is a tough ask to blood youngsters in an inexperienced Premier league side.

But, once again, Adkins is in an upbeat mood about the club’s chances of hitting their targets – and this time maintaining them rather than selling prize assets to other teams.

“Our youngsters are coming through the system and our vision is to get 50 per cent of the youngsters into the first team,” he said.

“They are getting that opportunity and look at James Ward-Prowse, he was outstanding against Bristol City.

“Luke Shaw has had a groin injury but we have got high hopes for several of the players.

“The big thing is when for example Chambo (Alex Chamberlain ) left and went to Arsenal we were a League One club and we are now a Premier League club.

“It’s a situation where we want to produce our own for the Premier League and that’s what we’re actively doing.

Southampton are not a stepping stone. Players want to be at this football club because it’s a great football club to be at.

“You’ll find it’s more like players want to come to Southampton.”

Adkins regularly gave credit to last summer’s pre-season schedule when discussing their promotion from the Championship – and he believes Saints are just as well prepared this time out for their time with the big boys.

“You can see the fitness levels that we’ve got there, which are very good, and it’s about getting the players through.

“Unfortunately we’ve lost Jack (Cork) for a short period of time, which is a shame because he’s a smashing lad.

“Pre-season has been good because we’ve worked on a new formation, which is a 4-3-3, and we want to be assertive with it.

“The players have adapted to it and with every game we have improved and been assertive and that’s really pleasing.”

Perhaps that change of system has been the most striking, the most daring thing about pre-season. Having achieved such great success with a very settled team and formation, Adkins is rolling the dice this summer.

Whether you could describe it as a true 4-3-3 or a 4-3-2-1 or a 4-5-1 is open to debate.

But either way, changing a highly successful formula just as you make a huge leap up in class of opposition is tough.

Adkins may have not opted for this had Saints been more active in the transfer market, but as it is he has had to weigh up the best use of the squad he has, and how best to handle coming up against some of the best players and best teams in the world.

“I think the big thing is that if you don’t keep possession of the football then the other teams will and they will make it very challenging for you,” explained Adkins.

“In the Championship we kept the ball better than anyone, I would like to think, and we did that very well.

“We are in the Premier League now and we need to be armed and equipped enough now that we can, if we want, from a defensive point of view make sure that we’re very solid so that we can win the ball back.

“It shows how competitive the Premier League is for everybody and how strong the Championship has become. When you look at it we were in the top two for the whole season last year and we’ve now demonstrated that we can play three different ways.

“It’s about winning games of football but the philosophy is to pass the ball quickly and play exciting football.

“We have large amounts of possession of the football and that’s what we’ve got to go and do.

“If you look at the ethos at Southampton, all the way through from the under-21s down they have all played 4-3-3 for the last three years.

“That means the youngsters coming through are used to playing that formation so it’s an ethos that’s been at the football club anyway.

“For the first team it’s about winning games of football and playing the way you want to go and do and we’ve gone and won games with the group of players that we’ve got.

“When you look at it we’ve not just been a rigid 4-4- 2 but a very fluent, flowing team, and it’s about having that philosophy to keep possession of the football and over the last couple of years we’ve done that very well.

“It’s being armed and tooled so that you can give yourself an opportunity to keep possession of the ball because, let’s face it, we are going to come up against opposition who are better teams.

“We played Wolves and beat them 2-0 and they had all played in the Premier League, the whole team.

“We played Ajax the week before that and they played all bar one of their strongest team and they notoriously keep the ball off everybody and when you look at the game we were very unfortunate not to win because we had more possession of the football in good areas than what they did."

Comments (28)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

8:13am Fri 17 Aug 12

St.henley says...

COYR!!!!!!!
COYR!!!!!!! St.henley
  • Score: 0

8:14am Fri 17 Aug 12

seventh-junction says...

3-2 to City. We'll give them a good go but will get beat because of a sh1t decision from one of the officials.
COYR
3-2 to City. We'll give them a good go but will get beat because of a sh1t decision from one of the officials. COYR seventh-junction
  • Score: 0

8:37am Fri 17 Aug 12

Cheapshot says...

http://www1.skysport
s.com/football/news/
11700/7997121


JUST CREAMED MY PANTS!!!!!!!
http://www1.skysport s.com/football/news/ 11700/7997121 JUST CREAMED MY PANTS!!!!!!! Cheapshot
  • Score: 0

8:38am Fri 17 Aug 12

Hobson82 says...

Let's all be positive. Man for man they are better than us, however, they may just under estimate us and start playing as individuals. As long as we remain compact keep men behind the ball, I'm confident we can catch them off guard. I also think set pieces will be key, I fancy Hooiveld to snatch a goal.
Let's all be positive. Man for man they are better than us, however, they may just under estimate us and start playing as individuals. As long as we remain compact keep men behind the ball, I'm confident we can catch them off guard. I also think set pieces will be key, I fancy Hooiveld to snatch a goal. Hobson82
  • Score: 0

8:38am Fri 17 Aug 12

SaintMax says...

Cheapshot wrote:
http://www1.skysport

s.com/football/news/

11700/7997121


JUST CREAMED MY PANTS!!!!!!!
WTF!
[quote][p][bold]Cheapshot[/bold] wrote: http://www1.skysport s.com/football/news/ 11700/7997121 JUST CREAMED MY PANTS!!!!!!![/p][/quote]WTF! SaintMax
  • Score: 0

8:40am Fri 17 Aug 12

tomw1234 says...

I can't believe this. I was hoping all these people saying we can't afford him bla bla bla would be wrong and they are! I am absolutely ecstatic. Superb business by NC. COYR.
I can't believe this. I was hoping all these people saying we can't afford him bla bla bla would be wrong and they are! I am absolutely ecstatic. Superb business by NC. COYR. tomw1234
  • Score: 0

8:44am Fri 17 Aug 12

Epsom Saint says...

Fantastic news - but I don't think it's done and dusted yet. Does anybody know anything about him?
Fantastic news - but I don't think it's done and dusted yet. Does anybody know anything about him? Epsom Saint
  • Score: 0

8:44am Fri 17 Aug 12

St Retford says...

SCREEEEEEEEEEEAM!

If he signs today can he play on Sunday?
SCREEEEEEEEEEEAM! If he signs today can he play on Sunday? St Retford
  • Score: 0

8:51am Fri 17 Aug 12

Epsom Saint says...

Apparently he's left footed - perfect!
Apparently he's left footed - perfect! Epsom Saint
  • Score: 0

8:58am Fri 17 Aug 12

iswhite10 says...

Type him into YouTube! Omg! He is predominately left footed but scores and dribbles with both and with his head. What a prospect! Nicola you sly fox......
Type him into YouTube! Omg! He is predominately left footed but scores and dribbles with both and with his head. What a prospect! Nicola you sly fox...... iswhite10
  • Score: 0

8:59am Fri 17 Aug 12

iswhite10 says...

Ps Jeez we must be paying premium wages to beat Liverpool and Spurs to him....
Ps Jeez we must be paying premium wages to beat Liverpool and Spurs to him.... iswhite10
  • Score: 0

9:00am Fri 17 Aug 12

Cheapshot says...

If this comes off...NC, you have permission to sh@g my wife!
If this comes off...NC, you have permission to sh@g my wife! Cheapshot
  • Score: 0

9:03am Fri 17 Aug 12

richie79 says...

if this is true and sky sports sources are not often wrong then you have got yourselfs a top quality player quick skillfull and will only get better
if this is true and sky sports sources are not often wrong then you have got yourselfs a top quality player quick skillfull and will only get better richie79
  • Score: 0

9:08am Fri 17 Aug 12

iswhite10 says...

We now have that horrible period where we wait to see if this is a ploy by his agent to get his value up or pressure bigger clubs, though he's quoted being v positive about joining Saints, we all remember Buttner..... Fingers crossed
We now have that horrible period where we wait to see if this is a ploy by his agent to get his value up or pressure bigger clubs, though he's quoted being v positive about joining Saints, we all remember Buttner..... Fingers crossed iswhite10
  • Score: 0

9:33am Fri 17 Aug 12

St Retford says...

Cheapshot wrote:
If this comes off...NC, you have permission to sh@g my wife!
Haha.
[quote][p][bold]Cheapshot[/bold] wrote: If this comes off...NC, you have permission to sh@g my wife![/p][/quote]Haha. St Retford
  • Score: 0

9:42am Fri 17 Aug 12

laffaminute says...

Always one for a good laff is NA, dont sack him too soon.
Always one for a good laff is NA, dont sack him too soon. laffaminute
  • Score: 0

10:00am Fri 17 Aug 12

St Retford says...

Where's the Ramirez story gone?
Where's the Ramirez story gone? St Retford
  • Score: 0

10:01am Fri 17 Aug 12

laffaminute says...

St Retford wrote:
Where's the Ramirez story gone?
He is signing for Pompey instead
[quote][p][bold]St Retford[/bold] wrote: Where's the Ramirez story gone?[/p][/quote]He is signing for Pompey instead laffaminute
  • Score: 0

10:02am Fri 17 Aug 12

St Retford says...

laffaminute wrote:
St Retford wrote:
Where's the Ramirez story gone?
He is signing for Pompey instead
Hahaha - now that actually is quite funny. Have the rest of the day off as a reward.
[quote][p][bold]laffaminute[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]St Retford[/bold] wrote: Where's the Ramirez story gone?[/p][/quote]He is signing for Pompey instead[/p][/quote]Hahaha - now that actually is quite funny. Have the rest of the day off as a reward. St Retford
  • Score: 0

10:03am Fri 17 Aug 12

SO50 Saint says...

No we have decided against signing him and we are gonna spend the money buying the club and then knocking it down why you ask? Because we can
No we have decided against signing him and we are gonna spend the money buying the club and then knocking it down why you ask? Because we can SO50 Saint
  • Score: 0

10:18am Fri 17 Aug 12

ToastyTea says...

It says read the full interview in the Echo tomorrow, is this interview taken from the Saints site (I haven't got Saintsplayer) or is this a actual interview with the Echo ? would seem strange if the Echo had conducted the interview as would be a change of relations.
It says read the full interview in the Echo tomorrow, is this interview taken from the Saints site (I haven't got Saintsplayer) or is this a actual interview with the Echo ? would seem strange if the Echo had conducted the interview as would be a change of relations. ToastyTea
  • Score: 0

10:20am Fri 17 Aug 12

Saint. says...

Thank God NA is not as negative as your spin DE!

Not like we have not played in big games before, and in front of cameras! Man U in the cup just recently!! I pretty sure there will be little difference playing in front of 32k, to 50k fans! Your piece is always half glass empty, rather than Southampton FC/NA/NC is glass is half FULL!

Let's just wait and see DE, we will play them, not respect them on the park!
Thank God NA is not as negative as your spin DE! Not like we have not played in big games before, and in front of cameras! Man U in the cup just recently!! I pretty sure there will be little difference playing in front of 32k, to 50k fans! Your piece is always half glass empty, rather than Southampton FC/NA/NC is glass is half FULL! Let's just wait and see DE, we will play them, not respect them on the park! Saint.
  • Score: 0

10:36am Fri 17 Aug 12

Stroppy_gramps says...

Its fine. Its just the first game of the season. No one can accurately predict whats going to happen for the rest of the season so just go to the match, watch it down the pub and get behind the team.

Like I said on another thread - they don't know us and we don't know them. The chances are that we will lose but you never know whats going to happen in the 90 minutes. If we win it will be a shock and a fantastic start to the season, if we draw it will be a great result for us and a good start to the season and if we lose no one should be shocked at all - lets just hope that the team give everything on the day and the loss is only by a goal or two.

Whatever happens, its just one match from a whole season. We aren't going to be playing teams of Man City's stature in every match so theres a few teams that we can and will beat.

Remember: All we need to do is stay up. We can worry about Europe and getting into the higher levels of the table in the seasons to come.
Its fine. Its just the first game of the season. No one can accurately predict whats going to happen for the rest of the season so just go to the match, watch it down the pub and get behind the team. Like I said on another thread - they don't know us and we don't know them. The chances are that we will lose but you never know whats going to happen in the 90 minutes. If we win it will be a shock and a fantastic start to the season, if we draw it will be a great result for us and a good start to the season and if we lose no one should be shocked at all - lets just hope that the team give everything on the day and the loss is only by a goal or two. Whatever happens, its just one match from a whole season. We aren't going to be playing teams of Man City's stature in every match so theres a few teams that we can and will beat. Remember: All we need to do is stay up. We can worry about Europe and getting into the higher levels of the table in the seasons to come. Stroppy_gramps
  • Score: 0

10:36am Fri 17 Aug 12

Andy Lombardi says...

One step at a time. NC & NA will empower the players. I can just guess the mindset.

NA to the players: "Well, we're here lads but we have not yet arrived. it was hard work and the work is going to get harder. I have watched you develop and this is your penultimate test. The season is not one game long. Go out, remember what you have learned and what we have practised, express yourselves and give your best. Let's go! Forward! together as one!"

COYR&WM!
One step at a time. NC & NA will empower the players. I can just guess the mindset. NA to the players: "Well, we're here lads but we have not yet arrived. it was hard work and the work is going to get harder. I have watched you develop and this is your penultimate test. The season is not one game long. Go out, remember what you have learned and what we have practised, express yourselves and give your best. Let's go! Forward! together as one!" COYR&WM! Andy Lombardi
  • Score: 0

10:41am Fri 17 Aug 12

Stroppy_gramps says...

Oh and NA is bang on.

Saints deserve to be in the Premiership. We got there through hard work by the team and great support by the fans.

Note: Theres not many fishtrolls posting today. Probably because they've finally realised that they haven't got anything to say. No stadium, no money and no players.

We've got the stadium, we've got the players and we've got the money. Furthermore we've got NA and NC who are both developing the club in the right way.

C.O.Y.R.
Oh and NA is bang on. Saints deserve to be in the Premiership. We got there through hard work by the team and great support by the fans. Note: Theres not many fishtrolls posting today. Probably because they've finally realised that they haven't got anything to say. No stadium, no money and no players. We've got the stadium, we've got the players and we've got the money. Furthermore we've got NA and NC who are both developing the club in the right way. C.O.Y.R. Stroppy_gramps
  • Score: 0

3:59pm Fri 17 Aug 12

Severntrent says...

To all you scummers that have something to say about the morality of not paying businesses or charities...

....no more immoral than ripping off a company that looks after people's old age pensions!!! The only difference I can see is that the charities are a few thousand pounds out of pocket. You have mugged pensioners for millions.

How come you are allowed to spend millions on players having ripped off some of the most needy people in our society?
To all you scummers that have something to say about the morality of not paying businesses or charities... ....no more immoral than ripping off a company that looks after people's old age pensions!!! The only difference I can see is that the charities are a few thousand pounds out of pocket. You have mugged pensioners for millions. How come you are allowed to spend millions on players having ripped off some of the most needy people in our society? Severntrent
  • Score: 0

8:02pm Fri 17 Aug 12

Verbal Kint says...

my fishy friend, it is a well documented fact that all creditors were paid in full when the take over was completed. Suggest you concentrate your efforts on packing the park, something that failed to happen virtually all last season
my fishy friend, it is a well documented fact that all creditors were paid in full when the take over was completed. Suggest you concentrate your efforts on packing the park, something that failed to happen virtually all last season Verbal Kint
  • Score: 0

8:02pm Fri 17 Aug 12

Verbal Kint says...

my fishy friend, it is a well documented fact that all creditors were paid in full when the take over was completed. Suggest you concentrate your efforts on packing the park, something that failed to happen virtually all last season
my fishy friend, it is a well documented fact that all creditors were paid in full when the take over was completed. Suggest you concentrate your efforts on packing the park, something that failed to happen virtually all last season Verbal Kint
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

Get Adobe Flash player
About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree