Southampton Needed The Test
Alan Pardew though, told Southampton OS that the pitch was the reason for selecting Sutton as a pre-season venue.
The pitch was hard and tough to play on. The non-league teams are notoriously difficult to play against and Alan Pardew stressed the importance of this type of game after last season.
He told the OS that this type of opponent in League One was where we came unstuck last season. He added that he is determined not to suffer the same way this.
Though he could not hide his disappointment at not being able to find a way to deliver the coup de grace, He was pleased with some of the play.
Alan admitted that we were poor in the first half. He thought we lacked a little bit of quality and the attitude was not right. Adding that both Puncheon and Lallana were sorely missed.
Overall he seemed pleased with the second half and was happy with the players that played the full 90 minutes.
First player picked out today though was Bart as he did well and hopefully will sign his new contract very soon.
Paul Wotton was mentioned as was Mills in good terms by our manager. Barnard was mentioned and was also picked out for praise even though only coming on for a cameo role.
With some of the first team players playing the full 90 minutes Alan also said that he was happy with the progress of most. Fitness wise the programme so far has had the desired result.
He fully intends to play more first teamers for whole games as they continue to gain 100% match fitness. Today was as full strength as it is going to be for now.
With some players still carrying an injury and others with sore feet through poisoned blisters etc, it is also noticable that the players still show signs of fatigue.
One thing that was admitted, is the need for a couple of players as back up at least for the likes of Puncheon and Lallana who are out at the moment.
At present we have
Richardson out dislocated shoulder - up to 3 months
Dickson out with groin injury
Pulis with his shoulder
Lallana and Puncheon both out though expected to be back soon.
All would be probable first choices with the possible exeption od Pulis.
Ant is a player that we still don't know. There just has to be something in his locker if he can get fully fit and injury free. Otherwise why would Pards keep trying with him.
Speaking of bringing in players Alan said that he is not rushing in to get the first available option. The thinking their being that a better player could become available after picking up a player which would mean a lost opportunity.
Reading between he lines it looks to me as though he is relatively happy with the squad. Though more players will be coming in the manager feels we don't need to rush into the market at the first opportunity.
Isn't life grand at the moment.
To check out the full article on the OS