Belfast Telegraph

Shot-shy Saints must learn to be brave, says frustrated Hughes

By Nick Purewal

Mark Hughes has challenged Southampton to show more bravery in the wake of his side's goalless Premier League draw against Burnley.

Boss Hughes admitted he booted a water bottle along the St Mary’s Stadium touchline to vent his frustration over Saints’ speculative opening 50 minutes yesterday.

Hughes read his side the riot act at half-time and gave his starting XI five minutes to shape up — and when they had not, he changed personnel and tactics.

New boys Danny Ings and Mohamed Elyounoussi added guile and impetus off the bench, but still no goals, leaving manager Hughes demanding a more gung-ho approach.

Asked about kicking away the water bottle, Hughes joked: “I thought it was a good pass myself!

“It was a little bit of frustration because I see these players every day and I know the quality they have in close quarters.

“But I don’t think we were brave enough early on.

Former Saints midfielder Jack Cork went closest to breaking the deadlock, coolly slotting home early on only to be judged offside in a contentious call.

Burnley boss Sean Dyche refused to criticise the decision, however, remaining phlegmatic in taking a point back north.

Asked for his views on the disallowed goal, Dyche replied: “It’s very tight. I don’t know what VAR would make of that, and I’m a big fan of that.

“I don’t really know. I’m not crying over that, but you just hope that over the course of the season you get one back.”

The Clarets have travelled almost 5,000 miles in four days encompassing goalless draws at Europa League foes Istanbul Basaksehir and now Southampton.

Dyche hailed his players’ spirit in grafting hard across the two contests, between which he only made four changes to his starting line-up.

“I thought today their work ethic and desire was outstanding,” said Dyche. “A good mixed bag really, some very good football, controlled, caused trouble.”

Belfast Telegraph


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