Belfast Telegraph

Maya Yoshida: Southampton need to pick up points before tricky winter fixtures

Southampton defender Maya Yoshida has warned his team-mates they must pick up points before their nightmare Christmas calendar kicks in.

Saints end November away to Manchester City and then face Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester United in December, as well as a crunch trip to south coast rivals Bournemouth.

Mauricio Pellegrino's men salvaged a morale-boosting 2-2 draw at home to Newcastle on Sunday after Manolo Gabbiadini's double, the second from the penalty spot, cancelled out strikes from Isaac Hayden and Ayoze Perez.

The result leaves Southampton with nine points from eight games played and only three points above the bottom three, albeit with kinder tests against West Brom, Brighton and Burnley to come.

"Fortunately we have another home game coming up next week to make amends, this period between now and the next international break is very important," Yoshida told the club's official website.

"We need to pick up points now because December holds some very difficult fixtures for us.

"West Brom are a strong side and consistently in the top half of the table. It's a big opportunity for us to show our character."

Newcastle would have moved up to seventh if they had held on for victory at St Mary's and the visitors will feel disappointed to have given away a penalty 15 minutes before the end.

Florian Lejeune was the guilty party, bringing down Shane Long, and striker Perez admits it felt like a wasted opportunity. Newcastle host Crystal Palace on Saturday.

"It was a little bit disappointing that we drew, but once again the team showed great character knowing what we had to do and doing our best when we could," Perez told the official club website.

"To be honest, they didn't create too many chances - clear chances - but they were trying and trying, and sometimes that gives you something at the end of it.

"We took the lead twice, which is important in this competition and away from home, but we got a point and now we've got to think about the next one."

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