‘A problem’ – Southampton boss makes frank confession ahead of Leeds United visit as dreadful run continues
Southampton boss Russell Martin admitted his players are still suffering from a mental hangover following last season’s relegation from the Premier League.
After winning three of their first four Championship fixtures, drawing the other 4-4 at home to Norwich City, the Saints have lost their last four games on the spin.
The poor run started with a 5-0 thumping at Sunderland and continued last weekend against previously-winless Middlesbrough as Michael Carrick’s side overturned a 1- deficit to emerge as 2-1 victors.
Up next is the visit of Leeds United, with Southampton losing 4-1 at home to another relegated side in Leicester City earlier this month. Leeds had a stuttering start to the campaign but have hit their stride in recent weeks with three wins and two draws from their last five matches.
Ahead of Leeds’ trip to the south coast, Martin has put Southampton’s struggles down to the team’s mentality and admits it won’t be a quick fix.
He said after Saturday’s defeat in the north east: “The mentality needs to change. We had the game where we wanted it, but then for some reason, we let the game fall out of our grasp and slip.
“That’s a mentality problem, it’s not a lack of effort, for sure. The players are working extremely hard, but it’s not a quick fix at the club.
“It’s been a tough however long it’s been – certainly a tough year or 18 months. There’s a huge hangover from that, probably bigger than we thought. But we’ll continue to give everything we can and build into a better team and a better club.
“We want to give the fans a team to be proud of, but at the minute, we’re going through a really tough moment. We need the supporters more than ever, but we understand their frustration. We have to keep working, it’s as simple as that.”