ESPN pundit Craig Burley thinks that Southampton’s style of play could be the reason that they are starting to struggle in the Premier League.
Southampton fell 2-1 to Tottenham Hotspur last night thanks to a late goal from Son Heung-min from the penalty spot in a game in which they were pretty dominant in the first half but fell away in the second. And although they should be safe from relegation fears this season, with four losses in the last five games, their form should bring some level of concern to the club and the fans.
And speaking on ESPN FC, Burley thinks that the style of play under Ralph Hasenhüttl could be playing a large part in their failure to see games out and pick up more positive results:
“I think Southampton’s waning in the second half of games is a consequence of the way they play. Because they were so energetic and driven in the first half and going around Spurs and disrupted Spurs and then created you know, quite a lot of chances themselves.
“I mean, Che Adams should have scored after I think it was a couple of minutes with a volley hit straight at Hugo Lloris. So Spurs were all over the place for 45 minutes and it did get better for them but as I say I think Southampton tend to welt away because of the way they play.”
Will Hasenhuttl leave Southampton this summer?
TIF Thoughts on Craig Burley’s comments on Southampton’s style of play…
The comparisons are there to be made when it comes to both Southampton’s game and that of Liverpool’s, which has helped him be dubbed ‘The Alpine Klopp’ because of the similarities in the high-intensity manners in which they play. And that style of play can cause problems, Liverpool had it with the number of injuries they accrued in the early days, and for Southampton it comes in the form of players tiring and losing form as they have done recently.
So Burley is right to raise his concern about how the Saints play, and it could be stopping them from making real progress as a club if they can’t see games out and climb up the table. So it will now be up to the board to work out if they want to see this philosophy out, or make a change to someone who might play in a more results-friendly way.