Southampton are never going to be a team that struggles to score high volumes of goals each season. They have a lot of good attacking players but the problems lay in the defence. Southampton have conceded a massive 26 goals in the league so far which works out at an average of just under three per game. Tighten up the defence and draws will turn into wins and defeats will turn into draws.
The manager has to play a big role in managing his players correctly and getting them to believe that they are good enough to perform in the Premier League. Adkins has always been praised for his man management skills and they will be tested over the coming weeks. Adkins needs to go to all of his key and experienced players and ask them to demonstrate their leadership qualities as the club has to pull together to get through the current rough patch.
Adkins may have to take a look at the tactics he has been using. Any side that is fragile at the back needs the midfield to close in near the defence to ensure that there is no space between the lines for the opposition to express themselves. It may also mean that Adkins has to drop his attacking nature and play more of a defensive formation until the defence has sorted itself out and is more capable of holding out with less protection.
“You need to be confident and positive, we are all working hard. At a staff meeting before the season began I highlighted that so far everything had been plain sailing because we have had back-to-back promotions - this is a great challenge and one we are all enjoying. This is the top division in the world and we are giving a good account of ourselves,” Adkins told BBC Sport.
He needs to be given support by the club and the board. Bringing in a new manager to a Premier League club down near the bottom of the table is dangerous. It would mean that manager having to brand his methods and tactics on the side which would use up valuable games and may mean the side misses out on key points. Support also has to stay strong from the fans. This is also a point which is out of Adkins’ control but if he can pay back on this support then it will go a long way to preserving his status.
Adkins has to get all of his players doing the scrappy things well and staying determined throughout games. If he can get his side picking up points playing ugly then it’s a starting point from which the club can progress. If the side can drive on and take a determined mentality into each fixture then it will make them harder to break down and beat.
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