Ex-Saints boss lays it on the line...

IT is hard to forget what happened on Tuesday at Watford.

Having not played particularly well in the league against West Brom, and having not capitalised on the excellent display at Arsenal, the Carling Cup should have been an opportunity to get away from the pressure of the league.

It should have been an opportunity to give the spectators a real lift to get behind the club.

But on Tuesday, I'm afraid to say I saw no fight, drive or determination.

I felt sorry for Steve Wigley. As a manager, you hope the work you do at the training ground will reflect on the field and he will be terribly upset they haven't carried it through.

The players lacked discipline, communication and organisation. But the game has now gone. They have to focus on Pompey.


The players have to look at themselves as individuals and ask themselves what they have got in their locker.

Tomorrow is a massive test for them. They have got to be determined to bounce back against the odds.

Steve Wigley has to tell them: 'You are not going to accept it. You will bounce back. You will have a colossal game.'

The players have got to come out for themselves, for the manager and for the spectators. They have to prove that they do understand and that they do care.

They must be prepared to put their foot in and spill a bit of blood.

Derby matches are battles. You need character, fire in your belly, you have got to believe in yourself and have confidence in yourself.

The players need to make sure they know their own job, what their job collectively is, and also their responsibility to the team.

On top of that, they will need to show character, physical strength, mental strength and, above everything else, a passion for the cause.

In every situation, in every area of the field, they must show real character. They must show a real strength of mind to believe they can handle it under pressure.

The ball is the governor tomorrow and wherever it goes they must contest it and fight every inch of the way. The supporters will expect that. If they do that, the players are well capable of getting the result.

The players are lacking in confidence and it will be important for them to be built up in a way that means they do not show the fear factor.

In man-management, when you deal with individuals, you have to let them know you believe in them and they have to believe in you. You have to genuinely get inside their make-up.

Sometimes that self-belief comes from within, but there are times when you need good support around you to boost that confidence.

Right now, the players will need a real boost.

They have to understand their responsibilities, but also be reminded how good they are as individuals.

They should remember what they achieved at Arsenal.

You have got to show them what they have achieved as individuals and as a team. The players have to be very disciplined, but also have freedom in and around the 18-yard box.

You have got to want the ball. They must show that passion, aggression and determination, but also no fear.


I had a good rapport with the supporters when I was manager because I genuinely believed they were like an extra player.

The Southampton fans are special and they can play a big part for Steve Wigley too - but only on one condition: If the players give everything they've got.

If the players show commitment, the supporters will get behind them. If not, they will turn on them.

The spectators will demand passion and concern after the other night. It is an opportunity to rectify the situation for the supporters - and they are the most important people for the football club.

Following Southampton is their passion and hobby. They work all week and Saturday is their opportunity to have fun and express themselves. It is their club and they deserve a real lift.

The only people who can do that for them are the players.


Tomorrow would just be a great game for Steve Wigley to get his first win in the league. He is desperate for a win, as are the club and the fans.

It is a big test for Steve after what happened on Tuesday. He has to get the players together and lift them, but it is a mountain to climb.

Because we couldn't bring in new faces, I found one of the hardest things as Saints manager was to find that motivation week in, week out.

It had to come from the players, myself and the staff - and you were always looking for different ways of lifting the players. That is what Steve, Dennis Rofe and Christian Damiano have got to do.

I must be honest - I have been disappointed not to have seen Damiano in the technical area during games.

He has vast experience. He should know the make-up of this industry and its demands.

He might be employed as a technical coach, but you also want to see desire and passion as well as a willingness to help the players you have been working with all week from the technical area.


Every game is important, but for the fans, it is these two games against Portsmouth which are most major in their lives.

It is the supporters who have to go to work if their team has lost and get the stick.

They know the Portsmouth supporters will be laughing at them after Tuesday and the result will have boosted the Portsmouth players' confidence.

They will take a lot of encouragement from that - not only did Saints lose, they took a drubbing.

Portsmouth didn't have a good day at Aston Villa, but they showed resilience to bounce back at Cardiff .

People are now expecting Pompey to win, but it doesn't happen like that.