Sunday 23 September 2018

Pressure mounts on Pellegrino

Southampton 0 Stoke City 0

A glum Mauricio Pellegrino watches from the sidelines Photo: PA
A glum Mauricio Pellegrino watches from the sidelines Photo: PA

Ed Elliot

Southampton's lengthy wait for a Premier League home win continues as pressure on manager Mauricio Pellegrino mounts.

Saints' last victory at St Mary's came more than three months ago and they wasted another chance to boost their survival hopes after failing to break down the second-bottom Potters.

Stoke City's Peter Crouch reacts after missing a chance to score Photo: Reuters
Stoke City's Peter Crouch reacts after missing a chance to score Photo: Reuters

Pellegrino's men dominated the ­second period but saw Stoke goalkeeper Jack Butland keep out efforts from Josh Sims, Cedric Soares and Nathan ­Redmond before substitute Sofiane Boufal squandered an excellent opportunity to earn the three points.

It is now eight league games - stretching back to November 26 - since Southampton tasted success at their own stadium and they remain a point above the bottom three after being booed off at the end of both halves.

They also could have lost this one as Badou Ndiaye and Maxim Choupo-Moting threatened to score breakaway goals for Paul Lambert's stubborn visitors.

While both teams were desperate for a win, they would also have been rightly concerned about the ramifications of losing this fixture.

Stoke City's Peter Crouch (left) battles for the ball with Southampton's Wesley Hoedt Photo: PA
Stoke City's Peter Crouch (left) battles for the ball with Southampton's Wesley Hoedt Photo: PA

It resulted in an nervous, eneventful opening period devoid of any real attacking intent. Stoke, who introduced former Southampton striker Peter Crouch at the interval, were a threat on the counter-attack and a last-ditch challenge from Jack Stephens was required to divert over Choupo-Moting's close-range attempt.

Pellegrino replaced Sims with Boufal 14 minutes from time and the Moroccan should have made an immediate impact, only to head wide from close range when unmarked as the game ended level.

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