Belfast Telegraph

Lots of positives for Southampton, says captain Steven Davis

Southampton have reached a cup final, played European football and are pushing for an eighth-place finish in the Premier League, but club captain Steven Davis says they "all want more than that".

Saints have remarkably finished in a higher position than the previous campaign for the last seven seasons - a run that is going to come to an end this term.

It was always going to be hard to better last year's sixth-place finish, and potentially ending the campaign eighth is far from a disgrace, yet there is an undercurrent of dissatisfaction at St Mary's.

Manager Claude Puel is under pressure despite reaching the EFL Cup final and leading his side in the Europa League, with Davis admitting there is a feeling of frustration.

Asked if the club was still upwardly mobile, he said: "Yeah, I think so. I think there's a lot of positives at the club. The foundations of the club are excellent.

"There's always going to come a point where, after progressing from League One, when you continue on that upward curve, there's going to come a point where it slows a little bit.

"And with changes throughout the team and the management over the last number of years, it's been unbelievable that we've managed to keep that upwards curve.

"But if we go on and finish the season strongly and get ourselves in that eighth position, then we can look back it and say it's been an okay season.

"We got to the cup final, with European experience and a decent league position, but we all want more than that."

Davis admits they have struggled to find the consistency of previous years, leading to a lot of frustrating matches.

Saints have, though, been without key men Charlie Austin and Virgil van Dijk for large chunks of the campaign, with speculation continuing that the latter could be the next star to leave.

Southampton have somehow managed to cope with the annual summer sales, with Davis unaffected by the talk about the future of team-mates and Puel.

"I've been in the game long enough and, ever since I've come to the club, we've had speculation about the manager and players at different times," Davis said. "That's part and parcel of football.

"I think (the ability to cope with changes) is testament to the structure of the club and what they have in place.

"They are continually trying to think of ways to take the club forward and bring in players who are capable of doing that.

"It's always a blow whenever you lose some of your top players each summer and that's been the case since I've been at the club, but we've managed to deal with that."


From Belfast Telegraph