SAINTS legend Terry Paine insisted “it’s all about consistency” in “big business” football.

The St Mary’s side are suffering a hefty slump in form with seven defeats in the last 10 Premier League matches.

It has seen manager Ralph Hasenhuttl come under fire, while the club are now unlikely to achieve their ultimate goal of a first top-half finish under the Austrian.

An unbeaten streak of seven had proceeded the sudden downturn in performances and results.

Paine, who has made more appearances for Saints than any other player and is a World Cup winner with England, praised the side for “a really good run” but added it is about being consistent.

“This season we had a really good run where we played the top teams and came away with a smile on our face,” the club’s honorary president told the Daily Echo.

“But like with everything in football, it’s all about consistency. The more consistent you are, the more games you’ll win.

“It has become big business. In my day, all the owners were local owners, you knew every director, they travelled with you on the bus. Southampton was a huge family. But things change, you’ve got takeovers now because it’s big business.”

Paine continued: “And whether people like it or not, it’s all about money - it’s as simple as that. It’s all about money and in some ways or in most ways it’s taken away a bit of the competition in terms of what teams are able to do.

“I much prefer watching two equal teams rather than Manchester City vs Watford. I much prefer seeing equal status if you like and better competition. My biggest regret is that there’s going to be three or four that always dominate.

“That’s a shame. The spending power makes a huge difference. But the Premier League as usual throws up its surprises here and there.”

Assessing the club, Paine also said: “I always like to think Southampton are a family club. They give awards (Forever Saint) at half-time to people who have contributed for a long time and I think that speaks a lot to the club.

“The fact that I’m the honorary vice-president gives us that connection from yesteryear into the present and into the future as well. I think that’s important.”

Daily Echo:

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