Mark Hughes got his tactics wrong initially, but his second-half changes made a big difference
Much better after going 442. Ings was great dropping deep, didn’t realise he was so good on the ball— Saints FC (@_Saints_FC) August 13, 2018
The second half after the changes was very positive. For the next game I'd like to see Redmond, Armstrong and Moi start behind Ings. That could be a dangerous combination.— Dan Coombs (@MrDanCoombs) August 13, 2018
Set up completely wrong for 60 mins , positivite after formation change and subs . Redmond , vestagaard , romou stand out performances . Ings will score goals #saintsfc— Ben Briers© (@sfcimage) August 13, 2018
A recurring theme among Saints fans of late: no one being convinced of the team successfully working in a formation with five at the back.
Given how the team had set up that way throughout pre-season, it was no shock to see Southampton start with three centre-halves and two wing-backs. And, like how many Saints fans thought, it didn’t really work as Burnley looked the stronger side in the first half.
However, Hughes’ changes in the second half - seeing the team revert to a 4-4-2-like formation, alongside substitutions of Manolo Gabbiadini and new signings Mohamed Elyounoussi and Danny Ings, who made their first appearances for Saints proper - seemingly got the team playing in a more cohesive, attack-minded manner.
Perhaps Saints’ positive second-half performance, following that tactical switch, will lead Hughes to ditch five at the back going forward.
Saints fans like what they see in the club’s new summer signings
Good second half. McCarthy on top form and new duo of Ings and Elyounoussi look fantastic, just hope they stay fit. Vestergaard quality too.— The Itchen Opinion (@ItchenOpinion) August 13, 2018
Not sure about 5 at the back/concerned how long it took us to get going but bearing in mind Burnley were 7th last season, a good result.
Feels like there's more positives than negatives, excited by the new recruits, feels like there's some leftover negativity from MP, hope we get up to speed a from minute 1 in the next game and I hope Ings stays fit. #SaintsFC— Dan Campbell (@arathkone) August 13, 2018
In short, the Saints fans who responded to our tweet seemed to have positive things to say of the club’s summer signings, including Jannik Vestergaard, Ings, and Elyounoussi.
Not bad, considering only two of those signings were only introduced in the second half.
Some Southampton fans were just relieved to avoid defeat
Detail aside, I'm just grateful we avoided our traditional opening day defeat and the immediate sense of crisis.— WhatNow (@SonnerSounds) August 13, 2018
Saints fans are generally a humble, maybe even pessimistic bunch - and who can blame them following decades of underachievement and not a whole lot to shout about.
Burnley of course beat Southampton at St. Mary’s last season, and Saints only mustered a last-gasp draw at Turf Moor as Sean Dyche’s men finished 7th in the Premier League.
Given how rough last season was, maybe it’s right to just be happy with a half-decent start to the new league campaign.