June 25, 2024

Southampton manager Russell Martin gave his thoughts on the 4-2 victory over Sunderland at St Mary’s.
Russell Martin praised Sunderland for fighting their way back into the game on Saturday but said his side should have been ‘out of sight’ by half time.

Martin’s Southampton side squandered a two-nil lead in the second half but eventually went on to earn a comfortable win after substitute Joe Rothwell scored a brace. Martin said he felt his side absolutely deserved the three points that kept their automatic promotion hopes firmly alive.

“It’s a weird one because we should have been out of sight at half-time is my feeling,” he said.

“We gave them one shot inside the box, which struck the post. I believe the rest of the game came from outside the box. It was disappointing because I told the players before the game that they had the most goals from outside the box in the league, and they have a lot of players who can shoot from distance. The second goal is amazing, but the first is so scruffy that it isn’t good enough for us. However, we paid the price for a lack of clinical touch and commitment in the first half because we had so many opportunities.

“They came with such an aggressive press and when we got it right it was brilliant,” he said.

 

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“The game’s flow altered so swiftly that it resembled a counterattack. But we have to make them pay. We scored a set piece and then a penalty, but it should not have taken that long. We were behind the press and beating it on numerous times, going 4 vs 3 and 3 vs 3; we needed to do more of it.

“Credit to Sunderland; they were amazing, they kept going, and when I thought they were getting tired, they scored. They then managed to sustain their momentum and were quite aggressive with their press. We just didn’t cut it open; the distances grew too great, and there was some anxiety in the stadium, which I understand. The substitutes had to come on and make a significant difference, which they did. We suddenly found ourselves behind again, and the third and fourth goals were magnificent.

“I’m really delighted we win, I’m furious and frustrated we conceded two goals but we came through it and it’s a big win.”

Martin believed Sunderland had a really interesting team, but recognized that Jack Clarke was a massive loss, as he would be for any team in the second division.

“I feel they have such a talented squad, a very young squad,” Martin went on to say.

“Jack Clarke offers a totally different proposition. I believe he is one of the league’s greatest players, therefore when he is not on the squad, they are a different proposition. That’s not disrespectful because I believe they’re a great team, not a one-man show. His numbers are massive, and what he does for the squad is get them up the pitch and instill fear. I genuinely enjoy their teamwork. They’ve paid the price with a lack of momentum due to managerial changes, but that’s their decision.”

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