The manager was left feeling bewildered after seeing a 2-1 lead slip in the last ten minutes at St. Mary’s as Millwall celebrated a surprise victory to progress into round five.
After a poor 30 minutes which Millwall dictated he altered the formation to the diamond shape and Saints began to show more commitment.
Talking on Saints Player he said, ‘The first half hour wasn’t good enough, when we changed our shape to a diamond we were far better in respect of the fact that we got better control of the football because we were chasing shadows in the first half in my opinion as we got nowhere near them.’
He went on to say how we could have had four or five goals ourselves after the change of formation. He was also bitterly disappointed that the goal Ben Reeves scored had been disallowed as it was clearly a good well taken goal and not off-side, adding that he thought the linesman had made a mistake.
If we had been given that goal we would probably have gone on to win but it wasn’t and we didn’t. Having taken the lead though Nigel was concerned by how poorly we defended the lead.
Talking about the goals Millwall scored Nigel said, ‘The three goals that we conceded and the opportunities that we presented to Millwall probably sums up too much of they way that we have conceded goals this season and it is not acceptable.’
For the game he made seven changes in personalities. This may have been too many as the team always looked disjointed. He did say as manager he was the one to be held responsible.
Positives were few but he did pick out a couple. ‘I thought Steve De Ridder started brightly, he said, he has done well and Chung had an exceptional game, he was bright and his movement to run in behind was really positive.’
‘Ben Reeves was a breath of fresh air when he came on, he was good in possession of the ball, he was creative and I think he has got a great future in the game, so we are really pleased about that.’
So even after a poor result and at times performance we saw how Nigel could lay the blame at his door whilst retaining that inner belief.
oin Vital Southampton
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