Sport Soccer

Friday 19 July 2019

Southampton boss confident of change in form

Saints have failed to score in three successive league losses.

Mark Hughes is confident of an upturn in fortunes for Southampton (Nick Potts/PA Images)
Mark Hughes is confident of an upturn in fortunes for Southampton (Nick Potts/PA Images)

By Press Association Sport staff

Boss Mark Hughes is optimistic of improved results for Southampton after just one win in the opening eight Premier League games.

Saints have failed to score in successive league losses to Wolves, Liverpool and Chelsea, conceding eight times, but Hughes insisted the forecast was promising, not bleak.

Speaking at a media conference ahead of Saturday’s match with south coast rivals Bournemouth, Hughes said: “I think you’re painting a picture that’s a little bit darker than it needs to be.

“We want more points on the board. We feel once we overcome a little bit of the anxiety we’ve got in our play at times, in key moments…

“In all those games we created chances. It’s not as if we’re not getting shots off. It’s just our conversion rate we need to increase.

“If we convert more of them we’ll score more goals and win more games.

“For the most part, as the season progresses we’ll get more than enough points on the board.

“We’ve got a number of fixtures coming up that we feel we can maximise our chances with. That’s what we’ll try to do.

“You’ve just got to execute on matchday. That’s clearly the one big element of our game we haven’t got right yet. We still feel we’re very close to that.”

Saints play Bournemouth, Newcastle, Manchester City, Watford and Fulham in their next five league fixtures.

Goalkeeper Alex McCarthy is in contention to feature at Bournemouth after withdrawing from the England squad ahead of the matches with Croatia and Spain with a hamstring problem.

Hughes added: “Alex McCarthy came back early from the England squad, only because he’d had a little bit of tightness for a couple of weeks in his hamstrings.

“He did one session with the goalkeepers with England. He was still a little bit uncomfortable. It made sense for him to come back.

“There was good communication between ourselves and England. It was the right decision for ourselves, for Alex and for England.”

Hughes reported no other fitness issues.

PA Media

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