Mauricio Pellegrino wants Saints to start games the way they performed in the second half against Stoke.

Saints were far more positive in the second period at St Mary’s and did everything but score as they ended up held to a goalless draw.

The frustration was much greater in the first half as Saints struggled to make any forward impact on their relegation rivals.

When asked whether he was frustrated with what he had seen, Pellegrino said: “We are obviously disappointed with the result.

“Frustrating no. That is when you give up.

“For me the feeling is we are disappointed because in the second half we did everything and played much better than them to try to win and I think we deserve it.

“Football you have to score goals and we couldn’t do it and we have to use the second half as a reference for the future.

“As for learning we have to start from the beginning playing with this tempo.

“The opponent was much better in defence in the first half because they were much more aggressive, following man to man some players and controlling our main people in front.

“Second half the tempo was much better, we have clear chance and now we have to keep going.”

Saints did something similar against Burnley the week before, where they were in their shell until they fell behind and then turned far more positive and got the equaliser.

It begs the question of why Saints cannot start like that.

“Maybe one reason was that the opponent was fresh enough to control better our offensive player and we didn’t move the ball quick enough to try to create this space,” reflected Pellegrino.

“Also we couldn’t switch the play in the first half like we did in the second.

“Also everybody realises in the half time we had to do something more and play with more pace.”

In a relegation battle the mentality of the players will be key, and there are plenty questioning it.

“My concern is every single aspect of my players,” insisted the Saints manager.

“I have to try to help them to try to find different solutions to try to be better.

“For managers the easier things are the tactical or technical things to put players on the pitch but to connect with human beings who have their feelings, beliefs and values.

“We have to be behind them, support them and be demanding because at this level it’s not easy to be there.”