Russell Martin: Southampton boss had been waiting his players to show energy and aggression

Russell Martin: Southampton boss had been waiting his players to show energy and aggression
Saints boss Russell Martin celebrating his side's win over Leeds.

Southampton boss Russell Martin celebrated after his side’s 3-1 home win over Leeds United on Saturday

Southampton boss Russell Martin says he has been waiting for his side to show the “energy” and “aggression” that they did against Leeds.

Saints, who are 10th in the Championship, beat Leeds on Saturday to end a run of four straight losses.

“It was a big improvement,” Martin told BBC Radio Solent.

“I am really proud of this group for sticking together, we just have to keep learning, keep improving and tweaking things to suit us.”

Before the 3-1 win, Southampton had struggled defensively and conceded 12 goals in their four defeats.

Martin stood by his players during that difficult period and said he and his staff needed to do more to turn around their fortunes.

“The mentality of this team was a big step up on Saturday and that’s where we need to live all the time,” he added.

“I had been waiting to see this kind of energy and aggression, with and without the ball, and the amount of learning the players have undergone recently has been a lot.

“But hopefully everyone is feeling more positive after Saturday and I’ve watched the game and the goals back and I am really pleased with the work we are putting in.”

‘Stoke will be a different game’

Russell Martin makes a substitution on the touchline at St Mary's versus Leeds in the Championship.

Southampton’s win over Leeds was their first in four matches

Southampton travel to Stoke on Tuesday, a side who beat Bristol City with an 89th-minute winner on Saturday – their first league victory since August.

Martin played under Potters boss Alex Neil when he was at Norwich.

“I know Alex very well having played with him and been his captain,” Martin said.

“I really like him and have a huge amount of respect for him and his mentality, will to win and the way he sets his team up with excellent detail.

“Stoke will take a large amount of belief from their own big comeback win at the weekend.

“They will be looking to build on that after a difficult period, a bit like us, and this will be a different game to the one we played on Saturday.”

Video PRESS CONFERENCE: Russell Martin on Stoke City | Championship