Belfast Telegraph

Warnock accepts blame for loss

Crystal Palace manager Neil Warnock says he is happy to accept the fans' criticism after the Eagles' 3-1 defeat at home to Southampton in the Barclays Premier League.

Goals from Sadio Mane, Ryan Bertrand and Toby Alderweireld secured victory for the visitors before Scott Dann headed in a late Palace consolation.

Warnock's decision at 3-0 to replace Yannick Bolasie with defender Martin Kelly was greeted with jeers and there were also boos from the home support at the final whistle.

"When you lose a game you're responsible, I've no complaints about that," Warnock said.

"Bolasie's wife is having a baby and he was tired before the game today.

"What with us playing at QPR in not much more than 24 hours, I thought we would just save his legs a bit.

"You know when you take Bolasie off when you're losing 3-0 you're going to get stick, but you just have to think about QPR really.

"I have no complaints, at 3-0 down, you'd be very surprised not to get a bit of stick.

"I thought they (the players) were very good today in the circumstances, they were almost as shell-shocked as some of the fans."

Palace have struggled for goals in recent weeks but it was the team's sloppy defending that was most costly against a clinical Southampton attack.

Warnock's team have slipped into the bottom three and are now without a win in six league matches.

"You can't concede goals like that - defending well and breaking has been our strength this season but the goals are all very poor," Warnock said.

"Individually (who's to blame) it's not for me to say on record.

"I've told people in the dressing room what I feel about the goals, we've got to eliminate the mistakes.

"With all respect to them, it wasn't Southampton's fantastic play, it was the defensive side of our game that needs re-tuning."

Warnock continued: "If I was a player today I'd blame the manager, it's always easy to do that.

"The players know what I feel. We need everyone to be on top of their game. The goals are so poor."

Warnock believes the club need to strengthen the squad in January and when asked if Swansea striker Bafetimbi Gomis was a target, he revealed the club have made bids for three forwards.

"We've made offers for three strikers as I speak. We know we're not going to get them all," Warnock said.

"The chairman is dealing with it, he knows more than me about how close we are."

The victory was Southampton's second on the spin in the league and means Ronald Koeman's side climb back into the top four.

It also continues Saints' resurgence after a difficult period saw the team lose five consecutive matches.

"We had some weeks where we didn't have all the players available and that is sometimes difficult because we don't have the quality in numbers," Koeman said.

"We had (Dusan) Tadic, (Victor) Wanyama and (Shane) Long on the bench and it means we can change it.

"It is important we show the spirit and belief we showed - we need everybody."

Koeman added: "We need all our players, you can't play with 11 players two games in 48 hours. You have to make some changes.

"We have those kind of players now that I can change the team. We kept the quality and the spirit, and it was a very solid win."

While Koeman enjoyed the adulation of the travelling Southampton supporters during the second half, Warnock finds himself under pressure at Palace only four months after taking charge.

The Eagles are struggling to replicate last season's form which saw the team finish 11th under Tony Pulis but Warnock believes fortune has not yet been on his side.

"I thought they had a lot of luck last year - I don't see us having much luck this year," Warnock added.

"But you have to take your hat off to that, you have to take the luck when it comes in the Premier League. I'm sure we're due a bit of it."

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