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Southampton fan verdict: Mark Hughes’ tactics, Shane Long, Wesley Hoedt, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s dive, and more

It’s The Morning After. Here is what Southampton fans made of the key talking points as Saints lost 2-1 at home to Leicester City on Saturday.

Southampton v Swansea City - Premier League Photo by Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images

Southampton are still winless after three games into the 2018/19 Premier League season.

After an uninspiring 0-0 draw to Burnley followed by a 2-1 defeat away at Everton, Saints fans were hoping to see an improvement as former Southampton manager Claude Puel rolled into town with his Leicester City side.

Saints did play well... For the first half at least. It appears some Southampton players took the midweek words from Mark Hughes too literally when he said he wanted a positive start to the game.

Unfortunately for us, Saints capitulated in classic style after Ryan Bertrand helped Saints take the lead with a thumping drive. Leicester’s Demarai Gray equalised almost instantly, before Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg got himself sent off for a shameless dive and England’s giant-headed hero Harry Maguire netted in the dying minutes to send Foxes fans into delirium.

As you can probably tell, there were plenty of talking points coming from Saturday’s game, so we dove into social media to see how Southampton fans reacted to them.


Mark Hughes

Mark Hughes bought plenty of time and goodwill after helping Saints escape near-certain relegation from the league last season. However, there are signs some Southampton fans are starting to question the Welshman’s methods and tactics.

It’s clear this Southampton squad has long had plenty of issues, and while it’s still early days into this 2018/19 campaign, those issues may still be left unaddressed and we all know the buck stops with the manager in modern football - regardless of whether that’s fair or not.

Here’s what you had to say. You’ll be surprised to hear Southampton fans are divided as ever:

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and his shocking dive

PEH played great in the first half, staking his claim to be the starting central midfielder alongside Mario Lemina.

But then he went and dived in the penalty area at 1-1 with little over 10 minutes remaining. Already booked, the Danish international was given a second yellow and was duly sent off.

Here’s what Saints fans had to say about him and this time around they are much more united in their views:

Shane Long, Wesley Hoedt, and Mark Hughes’ player selection

When it was announced that Shane Long was due to start on Saturday against Leicester, many fans took to Twitter to voice their displeasure. Though, in my opinion, Long didn’t play badly and was one of the reasons why Saints looked good in the first half.

The selection of Wesley Hoedt is being similarly questioned these days.

Here is what you had to say and, again, opinion is split:

Mark Hughes’ player selection continued...

Beyond the selection of particular players, many fans are questioning what certain players - ie Manolo Gabbiadini and Maya Yoshida - have done wrong to be omitted from Hughes’ Saints side altogether.

Conclusion

It’s still early days.

Yes, the argument can be made that the three opponents faced by Southampton have been fairly poor so far and we’ve only got a point to show for it. But, Saints have shown they can play some nice football in the odd half of a match.

If Hughes can get a full 90 minutes of performance from these players, we may be onto something good this season, albeit my version of “good” is just to stay well clear of the relegation zone for now.

It’s important us Saints fans avoid the toxicity of last season, but to also remain realistic. If the writing’s clearly on the wall of another relegation scrap in five games’ time, maybe it’s time to panic then. If the outlook is more positive by that time, rein in expectations and just enjoy some stress-free football for the first time in over a year.