ALEX McCarthy has revealed how he handles “pressure and negativity” from social media after a difficult performance, but admits: “I make mistakes. It will always be a part of the game.”

The 31-year-old Saints shot-stopper has stepped up in big moments for the club when needed – and was crucial to the club’s Premier League survival during Mark Hughes’ tenure.

But equally, as he says, McCarthy has made his share of blunders and always looks to bounce back.

When it comes to social media, that’s where most of the abuse targeted at players finds itself. McCarthy has a Twitter account, but doesn’t use it all that often.

He spoke openly about the pressure of performing and abuse that comes with errors at the top of the game, saying: "There is always going to be pressure and negativity.

"There always will be, with footballers it just gets highlighted a lot more.

"Some players are on social media, I am but I do not use it a lot. There are games where I do not perform as well as I should have. I will always be the first to hold my hand up.

"I make mistakes. It will always be a part of the game. It's about how you adapt and deal with them.

"I wouldn't say that I get down about it because I just get my head down, I go through things with my goalkeeping coach and I try to rectify it.

Daily Echo: Alex McCarthy has played every minute of the 21-22 Premier League campaign (Pic: PA)Alex McCarthy has played every minute of the 21-22 Premier League campaign (Pic: PA)

"I always go into the next game with a fresh mind and ready to improve.”

McCarthy has staked his claim again to be Saints’ keeper going forward this season with some good performances, and is likely to sign a new contract and stay with the club.

Fraser Forster, on the other hand, is likely to leave – and therefore a transfer will be made that will provide competition to McCarthy, and maybe even a move that takes the number one shirt.

For this season, though, McCarthy highlights how it’s a holistic improvement at the back that has reduced the goals going in.

"Just as a unit, we are a lot more solid this season. It really was the big topic that we spoke about over the summer," he continued.

"We did not want to concede anywhere near as many goals as we did last term, so we worked on it a lot during pre-season and on how we can be a lot more solid and compact. We've shown that we can do that up until now.

"It's quite simple, to be fair. There are times in games when you get overrun and we need the midfield to step in and help, we need that communication," he explained.

"It is something that we have worked a lot on. As a unit, you can see now, we look a lot harder to break down and a lot harder to get crosses in against. We're defending for our lives."