A disappointed Jack Cork admitted he did not feel as if he had grasped his opportunity in the Saints team last night.
The midfielder made his longest Premier League appearance of the season, as he played the entire second half of the 3-2 defeat against Aston Villa.
With Morgan Schneiderlin sidelined because of a groin problem, and Victor Wanyama taken off injured at the interval, Cork was afforded a rare opportunity to prove himself.
However, the 24-year-old, who gave the ball away in the build-up to Villa’s second goal, was honest in his assessment of whether he felt he had taken his chance.
“Not really,” he said. “Morgan’s only out for a week or so. I just tried to do well, and I’m not sure how well I did. I’ll just have a think about it tonight and tomorrow.”
Cork confessed his frustration at being dispossessed by Karim El Ahmadi ahead of Villa’s second goal, admitting he was not at his sharpest.
“It was just a bit of rustiness from me,” he said. “I sort of won the ball off him and then he sort of muscled his way through and got the cross in, so obviously I’m disappointed.”
It has been a difficult season for Cork, who has had to adjust to the role of being a fringe player, something that is in stark contrast to the previous two seasons, when he was such an integral part of the team.
When asked about his plans for the future, he said: “Obviously, I’ve been thinking about what part I’m going to play in this squad. I haven’t played that much, so it’s going to cross anyone’s head to think ‘what use am I going to be in the squad?’ “I’ll see what happens in the next couple of weeks and see if he (Mauricio Pochettino) uses me. I’m always happy to be part of the squad and play whenever I’m trusted.”
Cork also revealed that he had not been given any real indication from Pochettino about what his plans for the midfielder are.
“Nothing much. I haven’t really spoken to him much this season,” he said. “We’ll have to review tomorrow and see what happens from there; see what players are fit and if I will be any use in the coming weeks.”
Cork felt that Saints, who enjoyed more possession and chances than Villa, should have earned at least a point.
“It was a bit end to end, they had a few chances, we had a lot of chances, and it turned out to be a bit scrappy in the end,” he said.
“For the way we played at times we maybe should have nicked it, but it’s football. We’ve been on a good run, and sometimes you have to weather a storm.”