After four straight defeats in the league, Southampton fans can be forgiven for thinking that the League Cup can offer some relief as they visited Bramall Lane to face Sheffield United.
However, it seems at the moment, that The Saints just can't catch a break.
A goal from Marc McNulty sent the host into the semifinal of the League Cup, while prolonging Southampton's woes.
5 - Southampton have lost their last five matches in all competitions and are without a win in six (D1 L5). Freefall.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 16, 2014
Ronald Koeman made several changes to the starting XI with Graziano Pellè, Dušan Tadić, Jake Hesketh, Steven Davis, and Toby Alderweireld coming out, while Florin Gardos, Matt Targett, Morgan Schneiderlin, James Ward-Prowse, and Shane Long all came in the side.
Chances were few and far between, with the host coming close on two occasions. Jamal Campbell-Ryce sent a free-kick against the bar, while Louis Reed's well-struck effort went just over the bar.
Southampton's best chance came via Sadio Mané, who failed to capitalize on some neat work from Long. The Irishman burst into The Blades area and squared the ball back for Mané, who sent his shot wide off the mark.
This basically sums up the first half.
HT: Zero shots on target, Zero corners and its starting to get a little feisty. #saintsfc haven't been this poor since Millwall away.— St. Mary's Musings (@StMarysMusings) December 16, 2014
The second-half begins the same way as the first, with the host exerting their dominance over The Saints. James Ward-Prowse had several efforts, but could not muster any of them on target.
Fraser Forster then made two saves to deny Jamie Murphy and Michael Doyle as the host cranked up the pressure.
Saints' resolve was eventually broken a few minutes later.
Bob Harris' free-kick was fumbled by Forster, who might have had his sight blocked by several bodies, but that error allowed McNulty to squeezed the ball into the net.
The feisty nature of the game saw Sheffield United's coach, Chris Morgan, being sent to the stands shortly after the goal. Southampton's players was stunned by the goal but there was still time to turn things around.
However, despite Sheffield United dropping their intensity, The Saints could only register a single shot on target. To make matters worse, Gardos was sent-off in the dying minutes of the game as he committed a last-man foul on McNulty.
With tempers flaring, a dejected Koeman left the game without shaking the hands of his counterpart Nigel Clough at the conclusion of the game. The Dutchman surely beginning to feel the pressure after a fifth straight loss.
Koeman's men will be hoping to snap their losing streak as they host Everton on Saturday.
For now, The Blades progressed to the semi-final as their stellar record in cup competitions continue (two losses in 18 games). For Southampton though, it was another disappointing night as they crashed out of the League Cup.