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Puel wants whole team to take responsibility for scoring Southampton's goals


Southampton must do without leading scorer Charlie Austin following his shoulder injury

Southampton must do without leading scorer Charlie Austin following his shoulder injury

Southampton must do without leading scorer Charlie Austin following his shoulder injury

Southampton manager Claude Puel wants his whole squad to take responsibility for becoming clinical in front of goal as they aim to climb the Premier League table with victory over Middlesbrough.

The Saints saw their hopes of progress in the Europa League end with a 1-1 draw against Hapoel Be'er Sheva at St Mary's Stadium on Thursday night, when they also lost leading scorer Charlie Austin to a shoulder injury.

A scrambled effort from defender Virgil van Dijk in stoppage time was only Southampton's fourth goal in their last six matches.

Puel believes the squad have what it takes to find their scoring form once again, but that it must not just be led from the front.

He said: "The answer for me is always a collective answer - all of the players can score, like against Arsenal (in the EFL Cup quarter-final win) it was (Ryan) Bertrand and (Jordy) Clasie, a defender and from the midfield.

"You do not just wait for a striker, it is not just the offensive players because all of the team have the ability to score.

"It is important to keep a good level of play and to have good chances, after then you have to find the 'clinicalness' to finish."

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Puel continued: "We know since the beginning of the season we have had many chances and that it has been difficult to be clinical, but it is just about trying to continue the good work with the offensive display."

Despite the disappointment of an early end to a European adventure which only last month saw Inter Milan beaten at St Mary's Stadium, Puel believes there is plenty of life left in the Saints' campaign, one which could yet see a Wembley appearance in the EFL Cup.

The French coach said: "Since the beginning of the season, we have been able to do many interesting things, in the Premier League, the European games and also the League Cup.

"Sometimes we lack something, but it is important to continue this work and to come back on Sunday with a good spirit and reaction, to come back with the intention to go up in the Premier League.

"We want to come back in the league competition, and to do that we have to stay focused with our work.

"This is all that is important, nothing else."

Puel has been impressed by the showing of Middlesbrough on their return to the top flight.

Aitor Karanka's side secured a 1-0 win over Hull on Monday night which made it just one defeat from six matches.

"I have a lot of respect for Middlesbrough and their trainer. They play with good pressing and organisation," Puel said.

"They have had all of the week to prepare for this game, so it will be an interesting challenge for us to give a good answer on Sunday against a good team."

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