SAINTS CEO Phil Parsons insisted you cannot "forecast" football but launched a defence of the club's owners Sport Republic. 

The London-based investment firm have provided the club with financial security despite relegation from the Premier League and huge losses.

Saints posted a £87million loss in their 2022/23 accounts but pressed on with stadium upgrades and remained competitive in the Championship.

They could still win promotion back to the top flight via the playoffs after a 0-0 draw with West Brom in the first leg of the semi-final.

Speaking to BBC Radio Solent, Parsons, who joined the club last summer, said: "They’re all here, they’re on good form.

Daily Echo: Saints CEO Phil Parsons spoke to media ahead of the match at The HawthornsSaints CEO Phil Parsons spoke to media ahead of the match at The Hawthorns

"Everyone knows the importance of going up to the Premier League. Financially, it has big implications on a positive.

"They view this as a project, they are fully invested in the club and it’s interesting that there is sometimes a bit of stick with Sport Republic.

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"They have put over £200million into the club in a couple of years when there was nothing for a decade.

"They are good guys, they love the club and they’re passionate. There’s no need to panic, we know where we are."

Parsons continued: "We know what we need to do if we go up and if we don’t go up, but it’s not just about putting money in.

Daily Echo: Sport Republic made significant operational changes to Saints last summerSport Republic made significant operational changes to Saints last summer

"There is financial fair play which people forget about, we get parachute payments but there are historical things we need to clear.

"We’re trying to do a lot of the cleaning up while trying to build something at the same time.

"If we’re buying players, they need to be the right purchases and to want to be at Southampton - not superstars who think they’re too good.

"We have a plan but you cannot forecast football, you don’t know what players want to stay and what surprises might want to join."