Southampton boss Claude Puel wants his midfielders to score more goals
Southampton boss Claude Puel has called on his shot-shy midfielders to start chipping in with some goals.
Saints have scored just 17 times in 17 Premier League matches this season and recently lost six-goal top-scorer Charlie Austin to a long-term shoulder injury.
Fellow frontmen Nathan Redmond and Jay Rodriguez have hit three apiece and wingers Sofiane Boufal and Dusan Tadic have a goal each.
But of Puel's midfield men only James Ward-Prowse has troubled the scorers with his solitary strike rounding off a 3-0 win at West Ham in September.
So the Frenchman has been working with the likes of Oriol Romeu, Steven Davis and Pierre Hojbjerg in a bid to share the goalscoring burden around.
"I would like my midfielders to shoot also," said Puel. "This week in training we worked on these possibilities. Shoot, assist, control, good crosses.
"It's a shame to play every three days but we can give game time to all the players and they can make progress.
"I would like all my midfielders to score and make assists and bring more to our offensive play. They have all the technical qualities to make this progress.
"For me it's important all the players can score, not just the strikers. It's a mentality and it's important to make progress in this."
Rodriguez's double in the 3-1 win at Bournemouth last weekend was a timely reminder of the talent which put him on the verge of England's World Cup squad before more than two years of injury problems.
Saints host Tottenham on Wednesday with Rodriguez again likely to lead the line in the absence of Austin.
"If he can continue with this confidence and score against Tottenham I will be happy," added Puel.
"It's important for Jay and also for the other players to try different things to surprise the opponents. For me it's an obligation to make dribbles, assists, to try something.
"With all these chances it's important to become clinical. I hope Jay will continue this work."
Saints will be without midfielder Jordy Clasie, who faces 10 days on the sidelines with a groin problem, but Romeu is back after a ban.