Although the Saints enjoyed a great start to the season with a seven-game unbeaten run, they slipped out of the European spots to the Premier League’s ninth place during past weeks.
bagged two points from their previous two games against
, both ended as goalless draws.
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insisted further tightening up at the back is essential during his pre-match conference on Wednesday.
“We have to find a good balance of keeping the ball and still creating chances, and I think this is a good challenge for the next games.
“But the most important thing for me is that so far we have conceded 19 goals this season, one less than Liverpool, and this is the biggest step.
“This is what was definitely necessary and this was the fundamental of having a good season.”
The Austrian will be back to the dugout in the Saints’ Monday clash against
after missing the
game due to a positive Covid test. The manager said it was horrible to coach his side from home.
“It is definitely different if you are not there on the sideline, but a good team does not need a director all the time – and we have a good team now,”
“It is definitely a team that knows what they have to do, it is more important to use the time before the game to set them up perfectly and we definitely did a good job in the last 48 hours, and this was the reason why they were well organised.”
Former Reds’ striker,
, gave Southampton a further boost ahead of the
game as he returned from an injury to play the full 90 minutes against
. The 53-year-old manager believes
return to fitness is important for the club.
“I think he is OK, he had a good start in the game,”
“It was a good goal, a pity that it was again a little bit offside.
“And yes it is normal after this injury that he is not 100 per cent (in his usual) rhythm, but it’s important that he stays fit now.
“He has enough time to recover now for the next game against his former club Liverpool.
“I am happy to have him back, and we must definitely have more punch up front to score goals in the future but this will happen, I am sure.”