May 24, 2024

Southampton’s automatic promotion aspirations remain alive after a 3-2 victory over Watford on Saturday afternoon.

The Saints fans appeared to be in for an easy afternoon when their team stormed into a two-goal lead inside the first 20 minutes.

However, they were held back in the second half and forced to push bodies forward in pursuit of a late winner.

Their aggressive efforts paid off when Flynn Downes bundled home the winner in the ninth minute of stoppage time, sending St Mary’s into ecstasy. Southampton supporters had a fantastic afternoon that they will not soon forget.

Following an outstanding performance, one player would have given Martin a lot to think about.

Southampton ace impresses in cameo appearance against Watford

Martin chose to start James Bree at right-back, moving Kyle Walker-Peters to the left, a position that has been a concern for Southampton.
Ryan Manning was named to the bench once more, but when he came on in the second half, he had a significant influence. Here are his excellent stats from Sofascore.
20 minutes played.
41 touches.
92% accurate passes.
Five important passes.
Two out of three duels were won.

Manning, who previously thrived under Martin, joined the Saints on a free transfer from Swansea City this summer.

He was much sought after by several clubs at the time, so his arrival on the South Coast was viewed as something of a coup.

However, the attack-minded left-back has struggled to meet such expectations and has occasionally found himself on the substitutes bench.

His 20-minute cameo over the weekend, on the other hand, would have given Martin enough to ponder about as the Championship season came to a close.

Ryan Manning can be utilised as a super sub

In Profile: Ryan Manning | Southampton FC Official Site


Martin has found a wonderful balance in his defense with the addition of Bree in recent weeks, who has looked extremely assured.

Walker-Peters has been able to play at left-back, which appears to be working well for the Saints, so that should continue for the time being.

That means Manning will have to continue to make an effect from the bench, something he is more than capable of.

His energy up and down the left flank can be a genuine problem for tired defenders in the later stages of games.

Furthermore, the Republic of Ireland international, as evidenced by his five important passes over the weekend, has the capacity to create quality chances against a compact team.

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