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Ruben Selles remains confident embattled Southampton have enough to stave off relegation despite the humiliating midweek FA Cup exit to Grimsby laying their issues bare.
From managerial decisions to questionable signings, a catalogue of bad calls leaves Saints rock bottom and staring down the barrel of relegation after 11 years in the Premier League.
Selles worked under predecessors Ralph Hasenhuttl and Nathan Jones before becoming Southampton’s third manager of the season, kicking off his initial caretaker stint with a hard-fought 1-0 win at Chelsea.
But renewed hope quickly faded as relegation rivals Leeds punished a meek performance before Wednesday’s embarrassing 2-1 home loss to League Two side Grimsby in the FA Cup.
“I think it was pretty clear that those two penalties conditioned the rest of the game, and those two situations are clearly situations that we can avoid,” Selles – confirmed as manager for the rest of the season after the Chelsea win – said.
“But there was not only that, also the mentality and the togetherness in the key moments of the game was not there.
“We analyse the game from the football perspective, the things we think we can do better or we should be doing better in that game.
“But we also analyse the game in terms of players’ relations, player-technical staff relations, things that need to be done in a different way and our own way to conduct things.
“So, it has been a period to reflect and I have a feeling that we are stronger now because we take some things seriously.
“I think when you have a defeat like that you need to even overanalyse sometimes, but it was yesterday and now we’re ready to go tomorrow.”
Leicester are the visitors to St Mary’s on Saturday evening, with Brendan Rodgers’ side entering the weekend in 14th and six points better off than bottom-placed Saints.
Che Adams, who is back in contention Saturday, scored a brace as Southampton secured a 2-1 comeback win at the King Power Stadium in August – one of their four away league wins this campaign.
But Saints have been atrocious at home, winning just once at St Mary’s in the league and looking to avoid six straight home defeats for the first time in their history.
Asked if he still believes Saints can stay up, Selles said: “Yeah, absolutely because we knew that it was not a road that we just can take and win every game.
“It was a disappointing performance in Leeds, and also of course a disappointing performance and result in the cup.
“But I understand that you can win or lose football matches. What you need to do is to be strong in your beliefs and to analyse what you want and then to become better.
“We are not going to win every football match, we hope we are not going to lose any football match, but we need to learn from every game and then to move forward every single time.
“I think we have the energy in the dressing room, I still think the dressing room has got enough to stay in the Premier League and we still have a chance to stay. There’s no doubt about it.”
One of the few bright points in a wretched season at St Mary’s has been the performances of summer signing Romeo Lavia.
Among a number of young players brought in from Manchester City, the PA news agency understands the 19-year-old was the subject of an approach by Chelsea earlier in the season and it has been reported that Manchester United are keeping tabs on the midfielder.
On talented Lavia, manager Selles somewhat surprisingly said: “Well, I will say that he’s not impressing me.
“I think he has more football to offer and I expect him to offer more football. He’s not there yet, so he needs to step up and move forward.”
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