Writer: Daniel Bailey
Date:Monday April 6 2009
Mark Wotte has shrugged off suggestions that his side's 3-2 defeat to Charlton has effectively ended Southampton's chances of retaining their Championship status for another season.
Speaking to www.saintsfc.co.uk after the game, Wotte said, "It's not a knockout blow, it's just a setback. We didn't play our best game of the season, especially in defensive aspects where we didn't play as well as we have done over the past couple of months.
"The way they scored their first goal and third goal were not very well defended. We have been building on a more solid defence, but we underperformed in that area and it influences everything else.
"If you concede goals like that of course the confidence goes down and you don't play football like we should have played.
"We could have drawn this game 3-3 because we created some chances in the last ten minutes and that would have been a fair result but we were not good enough to beat Charlton Athletic."
After a week that has focused heavily on Southampton's off-the-field problems, the Dutchman was glad to have football back on the agenda, but refused to use the events of the last few days an excuse for a sub-par performance.
"It's had no influence at all," he stated. "They are experienced players and we should have done better, but we won't give up until the last game."
After the club's parent company entered administration earlier in the week, fans were urged to return to St Mary's to cheer the boys on, providing the club with a timely cash injection in the process.
Saints fans responded well, with the highest league crowd of the season all willing Wotte's side on throughout the 90 minutes.
"We are grateful for the support they gave us, they were a fantastic crowd," he added. "I am very sorry to the fans for the way we performed.
"You hope for the best game of the season and it wasn't case, but there are still six games to go and we need to prepare ourselves for Watford."
With Saints trailing the visitors by two goals, Wotte sent on former Southend defender Zoltan Liptak to play as a makeshift striker, in the hope that his added height would pay off in the box.
"We tried to do everything in the last 20 minutes with getting balls into the box with Zoltan Liptak and Bradley Wright-Phillips and I think we deserved a third goal as well," he explained.
"It's not normal to put Zoltan Liptak on as a striker but we were desperate for goals. We have to use the sides better - you can play with wingers but if you play with them you are always more vulnerable in midfield. We now have two days of recovery and then on Tuesday we have to go to Watford.
"It's going to be very difficult of course but we need to show our strength and our character and our spirit. We didn't expect to lose against Charlton Athletic but you know when it is 3-1 you know you have to do everything to get a point."
Wotte and his opposite number Phil Parkinson were both sent to the stands as tensions boiled over at the end of the game, although Wotte was keen to play down the incident.
"I was asking the referee why he didn't give a penalty after challenges on Jason Euell and and Bradley Wright-Phillips, but he said there was nothing wrong.
"Then Phil Parkinson came in there and he mixed in and we were sent off both. The referee lost it a bit there but I don't think it's a big issue.
"The only thing I care about is the results of Southampton. Of course I was a little frustrated at the end of the match with some decisions and with the lack of scoring power up front because we should have scored a third goal."
Date:Monday April 6 2009
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