Friday, 9 November 2012

‘Cortese has his full backing’ – Nigel Adkins

Southampton boss Nigel Adkins has assured fans that his future at the club is safe despite his side’s poor start to the new season. Adkins has been the favourite to be the first Premier League manager to be sacked among the bookmakers as Southampton are currently routed to the bottom of the table after ten matches. The 2-0 defeat at West Brom on Bonfire Night was the latest result to increase the pressure on Adkins, where it caused chairman Nicola Cortese to have crunch talks with the Liverpudlian the following day.

Speaking at his (earlier than normal) press conference, Adkins states he is confident that he can change Southampton’s fortunes around. “There is always going to be pressure, every team wants to be successful, it was always going to be the case. I am ready for it, I am loving it.” Adkins has also insisted that the relationship between himself and Cortese is “very good” and that they “speak on a regular basis”.

If you take a look at Adkins’ CV, you would see the familiar sighting of the phrase, “won promotion” with nearly every club that he has managed. It is safe to say that not many managers have a CV like Adkins but the key to his success has been his consistent positive vibes, which has definitely rubbed off on the majority of the St. Mary’s faithful.

Despite securing back-to-back promotions, Adkins wants to be successful than ever before by keeping Southampton in the Premier League. The former Scunthorpe boss isn’t fazed with the increased media speculation surrounding his future, although, he remains upbeat about the team climbing up the table. “We’ve got to start getting points on the board and having the winning mentality that we’ve had for the last few years at the football club.”, Adkins stresses.

The fixture computer gave the Saints a tough start on their return to the Premier League with both Manchester clubs, Arsenal, Everton and Tottenham all in the first ten games. “We can’t do anything to affect the ten games we’ve had previously so we’ve put them to bed now. We’ll move on and look forward to the next ones with positivity and a steely resolve.” Before Southampton’s next fixture at home to Swansea City, Adkins has decided to take the squad away for a couple of days where he hopes a change of scenery will kickstart their season. “We’ve reached ten games and we were always going to look to have a break by changing the environment and the mindset so we are focused for the next game.”

The next few fixtures for the Saints are crucial in terms of picking up points with the likes of QPR, Norwich and Newcastle all to come in November. As well as attempting to win more points, Adkins has the task of sorting out a defence who has conceded a staggering 28 goals so far which equals the record set by Barnsley in 1997. It is a worrying statistic for all Saints fans where they are questioning why the club didn’t bring in a few defenders that are capable of playing in the Premier League. One thing is for sure, is that a victory, as well as a clean sheet, will give everyone a lift including the fans have been showing their support for the manager in recent weeks. A recent poll in the local paper showed that over 70% of Saints want Adkins to remain at the helm, especially after the success since he first joined the club in September 2010.

Overall, I feel Adkins deserves the time to change the team’s fortunes around although the players have to take some of the blame as individual errors have cost the Saints so far this season. Another frightening statistic is that the Premier League newcomers have thrown away 11 points from winning positions which is more than any other team in the division. There is no doubt that Southampton need a win and tomorrow’s match against Swansea is the perfect opportunity to do that. In the past couple of seasons, the Saints have managed to score first and keep a lead albeit against lower league opposition. The Swans will provide a stiff contest for the Saints who also play in a similar passing style to their Premier League rivals. The fans will need to play their part again in getting behind the players and soon, I believe the results will start to come.

Together as one!

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