Southampton go into this weekend fully prepared to give their all and prove to a international audience how much the club has moved on and show how they can perform against one of the best teams in the world when they face Manchester United in the 4th Round of the FA Cup.
Saints go into the game with only one defeat since the start of 2011 but will have to give their all going against Manchester United who currently are undefeated in the Premier League. With Man U’s amazing come back against Blackpool in their last Premiership outing Saints know that they will have to give their all for the whole 90 minutes ahead of them on Saturday. Saints manager Nigel Adkins is fully aware of the hard test that Southampton will face at St Mary’s but also added that Saints can win this game. Adkins said to the offical Southampton website that “Course you can win, it’s been proved in the FA Cup that on your day, anyone can beat anyone. On paper Man Utd should beat Southampton, a Premier League team should beat a League One club. Blackpool, being a Premier League club should beat Southampton, but Southampton convincingly won that game. Now obviously we have a different animal in Manchester United, who have been very successful this season in the league campaign.”
The manager isn’t the only one fully prepared for a fight on Saturday at St Mary’s. Saints striker Rickie Lambert made it clear how important it was that the game was drawn to be play at home rather than at Old Trafford. Lambert said “I think if it was at their ground it would be very unlikely but we’ve definitely got a small chance of beating them at ours.” Other players such as Defender Radhi Jaidi also expressed a sense excitement in the Southampton camp ahead of the big game and a willingness to prove Saints can play against the best. Jaidi said “We are going to play against a big Premier League team who are first in the table and who have the big stars, so we’ll try to play our best, play as well as we can do and see our level compared with theirs.” Midfielder Richard Chaplow also expressed the excitement in the camp and the aspirations of the club wanting to be back in the top flight by saying “These are the games that the club wants and it’s where we need to be again, playing against the Manchester Uniteds, the Chelseas, and the Tottenhams,” he also added that “It’s where the club used to be and where it’s striving to be again”
Southampton legend Matthew Le Tissier who played in the famous 90’s victories against United was also asked about the forth coming game. Le Tissier told SkyBET.com in a telephone interview about the struggle Saturdays game will be against Man U who are top of the Premiership. Le Tissier said “Very difficult to be confident about this one, couple of divisions between us now. A few years ago we might of given ourselves half a chance at home, but obviously we have fallen a little bit down the pecking order and United will be massive favourites. We’re just hoping ‘Fergie’ (Alex Ferguson Man U manger) takes it easy on us and brings down a 2nd string and gives us half a chance.” Le Tissier also added after being asked if a win would be good for the club “Absolutely, if we were to it would give the players a incredible lift, if they could pull of a shock result it would be amazing, but the St Marys will be rocking, it’s sold out already. So it will be a fantastic atmosphere down there, there’s no two ways about that. Hopefully the boys will raise their game and United will have a off day and we will have half a chance.” Le Tissier also spoke about Saints amazing attacking and goal scoring record this season and that he felt Adam Lallana will be Saints main attacking force against Man U. He said ‘“They’ve had plenty of goals but i think Adam Lallana has been our talisman for the last couple of seasons, even though Rickie Lambert got alot of goals last season. But Adam Lallana does alot of the creative work and also chipped in with alot of goals last season. When he doesn’t play we miss him as we found out to our cost against Tranmere at the weekend.” He also expressed how the win against Blackpool in the third round of the FA Cup would of given the players and fans alike confidence but also stressed on the challenge that faced Southampton.
This will be a very tough test for Southampton this weekend but i personally fell it wont necessarily be a bad thing if Saints loose. I look back at last years 4th round tie against Portsmouth where Saints lost 4-1, after the game I was happy with most of the teams performance and believe that fitness was the main factor to that defeat. After that game the side seemed more awake in the league and it felt possible that Saints could make it to the playoffs. This year Saints face a much bigger team that seem unstoppable, yet the squad is more skilled to deal with that this time around. I believe Saints can win this if they play 90 minutes of their best football and the fans sing and get behind the team no matter the score. Yet i wont be upset if Saints give their all and get defeated. ‘A loss is only a loss if you allow its to be’. But at the same time Saints can do this and they can pull another shock in the best domestic knock out competition in the world. Message me and follow me on twitter @theamazingcliff and let me know your predictions for this game and Saints in the league. Also a reminder that we are now on twitter on @SouthamptonBlog so come follow us!
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