HAVING watched Southampton for most of this season now, I think I have worked out Pellegrino’s tactics. They go something like this:

1) Don’t move the ball quickly. Quickly worries your opponent and that’s not very nice.

2) If in doubt, pass back.

3) Pass back anyway.

4) Don’t move into space. This could be construed as attacking and you might get the ball in a forward position - we haven’t practised what to do then.

5) Try and avoid moving into the opponent’s half, possession is much easier in our half.

6) Hide. Especially forwards, that way you make sure anyone coming forward has no one to pass to so they have to go backwards.

7) Passing sideways is fine, but can be a bit threatening, so always finish by passing back because that means we won’t lose the ball.

8) Avoid physical contact, you might hurt the other player, and it could indicate passion – that really won’t do. Passion must be avoided at all costs.

9) If we do get forward, and by some unfortunate error get a corner, make sure it’s a short one, that way we can go backwards more easily, in fact all the way back, which means more possession.

10) Don’t talk on the pitch, that could show leadership, and we don’t want any of that.

11) Don’t help teammates out, that way they can lose the ball, remember: we are not here to win.

12) If we get a free kick, never take it quickly and never pass it forward. Always go backwards or, at the worst, sideways.

13) If the goalkeeper wins the ball, take as long as possible to release it, and make sure all the opponents are back in their defensive positions before you pass it out to one of your defenders, so they can pass it sideways or, better still, back to you in time for a panic-punt forward

14) Lastly, spare a thought for the cleaners, no tackling, no falling over, it’s important not to get the kit dirty.

And, finally, if none of that works and we actually manage to score first, I will take off anyone who is playing to win, and make sure there is no one on the pitch who shows any commitment to maintain or increase a lead. I will also take anyone off who can kick the ball a long way, especially from free kicks and corners.

Bob Barton

Chandler’s Ford