“The character has to be shown by the players. When things go wrong, there doesn’t seem to be any strength within the side.”
There have been a lot of damming statements about Southampton since their 9-0 loss to Leicester City, but Peter Rodrigues, the man who led the south coast side to their only FA Cup trophy in 1976, pulled no punches in his criticism of the Saints in a recent interview with The Southern Daily Echo.
The loss will be a turning point for Southampton for better or for worse this season, and Rodrigues, who only spent two years with the club, pointed out the biggest flaw in the current Saints squad, that being that the players don’t show enough character nor the strength when things start going south.
The former fullback said: “They need somebody to get a grip. Once the manager sends them out there isn’t much he can do. You need a strong character on the park to be aware of what’s going on. I feel there’s nobody there to do that. They seem to be going through the motions. The players let him (Ralph Hasenhuttl) down and by donating to charity shows it a gesture of guilt.”
Southampton capitulated with ease against Leicester, with the Foxes achieving the highest scoring away win in the top-flight in the 131-year history of the Football League, and Rodrigues’ comments on a lack of strong characters were on clear display.
The Saints have always been described as a team in transition since Hasenhuttl arrived on British shores just under 12 months ago, yet this result has to be served as a lesson to the management and the club that things simply aren’t good enough at Southampton, and that an overhaul of sorts should be on the agenda over the next two transfer windows.