Everton Edge Sloppy Saints

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Southampton suffered another miserable result as Richarlison’s 75th-minute strike ensured Everton edged the Saints 1-2 at St Mary’s.

The visitors started bright and took the lead when an unmarked Tom Davies headed in Holgate’s flick on from a Gylfi Sigurdsson corner. Everton missed some guilt-edge chances to score a second, with Cenk Tosun heading over shortly after. The Saints were vulnerable in defence and fortunate to only be one down at half-time: Sigurdsson, Davies and Schneiderlin controlled the midfield, and exploited the pace of Walcott and Richarlison on the flanks as Everton carved the Saints open in the first half. This was compounded by Cedric Soares’ deployment out of position on the left, which enabled Walcott to expose Jannik Vestergaard’s lack of pace.

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The Saints improved in the second half and equalised via Danny Ings. Substitute Sofiane Boufal jinked past Schneiderlin on the by line, his low cross deflected off Yerry Mina into the path of Danny Ings, who tapped in from close range. The Saints then came close to scoring another as James Ward-Prowse’s free-kick was acrobatically saved by Jordan Pickford, denying a fine goal. But it was Richarlison who was the hero for the visitors with a quarter of an hour left, firing in Djibril Sidibe’s right-wing cross from six yards out to give Everton the three points.

The Saints were hoping to gain ground over their opponents who started the day in 17th. The defeat is the Saints’ sixth defeat in seven league matches, leaving them in the relegation zone with eight points – the same tally at this point last season under former boss Mark Hughes. The frustration was palpable at the final whistle as fans threw their scarves across the pitch, having not seen their side win a home game since April.

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Hassenhuttl’s post-match thoughts:

When we defend like this, when we are exposed like this, it is simply not good enough for the Premier League. When I see our performance in the first half, normally you don’t get anything in football if you play like we played. It was a very, very early goal. First chance, first goal, like very often in our home games. After this goal you could feel the lack of self-confidence, nervousness. All that we prepared for this game was gone in that moment. Nobody wanted to have the ball anymore. The spaces we wanted to use, nobody saw them. Not brave enough and not good enough, simply.

To be clear, I need all my energy to find answers for other questions – questions that are more focused on how we can play and what we can do better. This is all I do and therefore I’m here and therefore I try to be strong.

Next up for the Saints after the international break is a trip to North London, where they face Arsenal on Saturday 23rd November.

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