Belfast Telegraph

Young Saint Josh Sims thrilled with his Southampton debut ovation

Southampton 1 Everton 0

By Declan Warrington

Southampton debutant Josh Sims says it was "everything he wished for" after starring in the 1-0 victory over Everton.

The 19-year-old capped off his first Premier League start with a man-of-the-match performance - earning a standing ovation as he was substituted in the 84th minute by the St Mary's crowd.

Charlie Austin netted the only goal of the game within the first minute by tapping in Sims' header across goal to make it an unhappy return for former boss Ronald Koeman on the south coast.

Sims explained what it meant to make his senior debut for the club and how he felt leading up to the match.

He said: "As a kid I came through the academy at Southampton so playing in front of all the fans and them singing my name was a dream. It's everything you wish for.

"It was a mixture of nervousness and excitement. I knew I was in the squad, but as soon as I found out I was starting I got tips from the lads and they told me to do what I do best."

Match-winner Austin said of his team-mate's first match: "He had no fear, go out there and do what he does best.

"He deserved (man-of-the-match) for what he did but it was a great performance by Josh today."

On the match, he added: "After a poor performance on Thursday night (in the loss to Sparta Prague in the Europa League), we can all say we needed that.

"It was a big game for us today, we needed to get the three points and we did. We controlled the game and got the early goal but you know what it's like, if you don't get the second you can get done with the sucker punch.

"But we played well today and defended great, right from the goalkeeper to the attack and we deserved to win."

Everton boss Koeman lamented his side's poor start as he was defeated in his first game at St Mary's since leaving the Saints in the summer. He said: "The start of Southampton in the game was better than ours - 1-0 so fast makes it difficult.

"In my opinion, (we had) a good second half, much better than the first but that's the problem, it's how we start the game.

"It's sometimes difficult to explain why. It was the kick-off of Everton and I think after 10 seconds we lost the ball and then they scored, 1-0.

"I can't complain about our second half. We put a lot of effort on the pitch but it's difficult to score the goals at the moment.

"We need to work hard and start better, keep focused on improving and to have a performance like the second half and also have a bit of luck."

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