Southampton manager Mark Hughes has asked for “focus” from his side as they prepare to face Leicester City in a must-win encounter in the Premier League.
Saints have won just one game in the Premier League since the end of November after embarking on a shocking run of form.
The visitors come into the game on the back of a heartbreaking 3-2 defeat at the hands of Chelsea despite being 2-0 up with an hour gone. As for Leicester, they also tasted defeat as they were beaten 2-1 by Burnley at Turf Moor.
It’s really hard to see how Mark Hughes side can get out of the drop zone now with just five games remaining and with Saints currently placed five points away from escaping the drop zone.
No points have come from the club’s last four games as they have lost their last four outings, conceding three in each game in the process.
The Saints have struggled on their travels, too, winning just twice and picking up only 12 points from their 16 away games.
As for the Foxes, they haven’t performed brilliantly but are now safe in the division and don’t have too much to play for between now and the end of the season.
The two sides have always been well matched but the desire for a result is much higher for Saints with them really struggling in the Premier League.
Saints boss Hughes has this week sat down and spoken to the media ahead of the trip to Leicester in what will be a vital game for the club. As reported by the club’s official website, Hughes said:
We’ve just got to focus on what we need to do. Good performances are okay up to a point, but we need to put points on the board. The message is to enjoy the challenge. It’s not an easy situation but don’t be cowed by it, just get out there and show people what you are about.
You have the opportunity to make a statement every time you put the shirt on. There is a lot of talk about fear of failure. My interpretation of that is you should not allow people the opportunity to criticise you and use that motivation to drive yourself on to bigger and better things.
In terms of team news, Saints are set to welcome back club captain, Steven Davis back into the squad for the first time in two months following injury.
Mario Lemina has been ruled out after picking up a problem in his back which has caused further issues in his hamstring, while Sofiane Boufal is unlikely to feature as he has an illness.
As for the hosts, Vicente Iborra has been ruled out of the encounter with a hamstring injury. Kasper Schmeichel and Shinji Okazaki will both have late fitness tests after not training with the squad so far this week.
Daniel Amartey has been ruled out, however, despite returning to first team training yesterday.
It’s a must win game for the Saints against their former boss Claude Puel and if the players can perform for the full game like they did in the first-half against Chelsea, then they will surely pick up a positive result against a struggling Leicester side.
I think that Saints will just nick this one 1-0 on a nervy night at the King Power Stadium.