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#PLStories- Andy Robertson bluntly dismisses Sadio Mane Liverpool theory about bad season #LFC

Andy Robertson has dismissed suggestions that Liverpool are missing Sadio Mane this season. With Liverpool struggling to reach the heights of last season’s Premier League title bid and run to the Champions League final, questions have been asked over whether…

#PLStories- Antonio Conte’s furious Tottenham rant against his own players #THFC

A tough penalty decision to take but at 3-1 up with 15 minutes to go, should your team be drawing that match? “If we are going to discuss the penalty it means we don’t want to see other situations. For…

#PLStories- Pep Guardiola explains why Man City players have found top form in recent weeks #MCFC

Manchester City have hit their best run of form of the season because the players are embracing the tightrope of knowing a defeat will be terminal to their hopes in one of the three competitions they are still in. That…

#PLStories- Man City manager Pep Guardiola praises Erling Haaland trait which is driving incredible goalscoring run #MCFC

Pep Guardiola believes Erling Haaland’s thirst for life and his positive personality is helping him to break goalscoring records for Manchester City after he plundered another hat-trick in the FA Cup rout against Burnley. Haaland has scored nine goals in…

#PLStories- Graham Potter on Everton draw, Chelsea frustration, Fofana, Felix, Havertz, more #CHELSEAFC

Does the result feel like a defeat? “We’re really disappointed because we’ve dropped two points at home. We wanted to win and you saw the intention of the team. There was a lot of positive things in the performance but…

#PLStories- Mikel Arteta on Arsenal changes, player fitness and Crystal Palace #ARSENALFC

How do you bottle that feeling of disappointment now for the title race? I try to give a lot of clarity in the dressing room. It was only one message: accept that it’s too late, we have to learn from…

#PLStories- Gary O’Neil on Bournemouth’s slow start against Aston Villa #AFCB

The hosts dominated possession in the early stages, breaking the deadlock when Leon Bailey’s low cross was turned in by Douglas Luiz in the seventh minute.

Late goals from Jacob Ramsey and Emi Buendia saw Villa run out 3-0 victors, leaving Cherries in the relegation zone.

Asked if the sluggish start at Villa Park was down to a problem with the gameplan or individuals not successfully carrying out their tasks, O’Neil told the Daily Echo: “If you watch back the goal, we’re pressing and the midfielder manages to wriggle away from one of ours.

“If you lose a one v one duel like that, it obviously creates a situation and we don’t manage it well enough from that point.”

He added: “But then the game looked exactly how we expected it to from that moment.

“We expected to be able to have the ball at times, expected to be able to hurt them in behind, tried to press when we could.

“So from their goal up until when we change and try and open it up and put a load of attacking players on the pitch.

“We were more than in the game, just really disappointed that it was a game that we were in and we don’t show enough to take anything from.”

#PLStories- Pep Guardiola hails Ruben Dias for filling Vincent Kompany role at Man City #MCFC

Manchester City were left flailing when Vincent Kompany told them in 2019 he would be leaving. City were still not set on a Kompany replacement in the summer of 2020, and after strong interest in Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly, a…

#PLStories- Graham Potter reveals flexibility of Kai Havertz to play many positions #CHELSEAFC

Chelsea head coach Graham Potter will not put limits on what Kai Havertz can achieve in his career, as he believes the German star has the mentality and talent “to do anything” in the European game. Graham Potter replied: “That’s…

#PLStories- Antonio Conte reveals his failures at Tottenham and teases Pep Guardiola about Julia Roberts visiting Spurs #THFC

Antonio Conte admits he and Tottenham have failed in some aspects since he arrived at the club but has proudly stated that, unlike Pep Guardiola, he has met Julia Roberts. Conte had won trophies at every club he has worked…

#PLStories- West Ham’s academy striker Divin Mubama lifts lid on first senior goal and Haaland inspiration #WHUFC

West Ham United academy striker Divin Mubama has opened up on his inspirations and Hammers dream after scoring his first senior goal for the club on Thursday night. Divin Mubama said: “Everyone talks about the development that this academy does,…

#PLStories- Sean Dyche lifts lid on brutally honest Michael Keane talks before Everton defender’s return #EVERTONFC

Sean Dyche says that Michael Keane is now “in a good place” having worked his way back into the Everton team after being frozen out under Frank Lampard.  Asked if he had to rebuild Keane’s confidence, Sean Dyche said: “No….

#PLStories- Southampton FC manager Ruben Selles defends his team’s bravery is not to blame for attacking struggles #SAINTSFC

Since taking charge following the sacking of Nathan Jones, Selles has worked to improve Saints’ defensive outlook and it’s led to three clean sheets in five games, including such successes at both Stamford Bridge and Old Trafford.

Those clean sheets have led to seven crucial points but the lack of goals was brought to the forefront once again on Wednesday night as Selles’s side toiled to create anything of note despite keeping the majority of the ball.

READ MORE: Selles predicts survival margin will be one point amid aim to ‘reduce outside noise’

Saints have now scored just twice in the five Premier League games under the Spaniard’s guidance. But asked by the Daily Echo whether he has prioritised a defensive approach and a lack of attacking bravery, Selles insisted that was not the issue.

“If they (fans) feel there is a lack of bravery they can see the build-up with Gavin (Bazunu), Armel (Bella Kotchap), and Jan (Bednarek) in the last game, how we are trying to build from the back. 

“I don’t think it’s lack of bravery, I’d take that of the equation. I think sometimes it takes time to build something, I think because we’ve changed a lot in the last year it’s not easy to find the connections, and then once you find the connections and find the principles, it’s just about finding the flow and the players to do it. 

“I know people are worried about that (the lack of goals) but I don’t think our approach is a defensive approach at all. I think what we are doing is trying to defend high, trying to apply pressure, trying to win the ball high, and when we have the ball we are not a team who is kicking the ball long and guessing for something. 

“We are a team that is trying to build up, you can see the patterns, you can see the adjustment from game to game – sometimes it works, sometimes a little bit less. So I would say for us, for me, for this period, it’s a process.

“I will not evaluate before because it’s not the right thing to do and I hope and think that after the work we put in we will become better soon. But I understand the concern because it’s facts.”

An element of the concerns raised by supporters has been to do with the personnel chosen by Selles.

While record-signing Kamaldeen Sulemana has established himself as a regular, fellow January addition Paul Onuachu has taken a back-seat to Che Adams while Samuel Edozie and Joe Aribo have struggled to even make the squad.

Saints striker Che Adams in action against Manchester United. (Image: PA)

The attacking trio that started against Brentford has combined for four league goals this sason – all scored by Adams – and no Saints forward has found the net since the World Cup break. 

But Selles rejected the idea that those players picked have been the reason for the team’s lack of potency.

“It’s interesting because I didn’t have that perception,” he responded. “So if you have that perception maybe I should communicate in a better way. 

“I just think that I can live with my strikers not scoring a goal in the whole season but doing everything properly. As you see with Che Adams, we are using him in the link-up play many times, freeing the space for others. 

“Right now we’re in a situation where it’s not about who scores the goals, it’s about actually scoring the goals. If we sound like we have a defensive approach then maybe I made a mistake trying to send that message because it’s not like that. 

“And I think we show it. We show our patterns of play, we show dominance for some periods also, the Manchester United game we had situations in the box and it wasn’t because we weren’t brave or because we didn’t have the quality or because of one name or another. 

“It was the team, 11 vs 11 or 10 vs 11. So I don’t see a problem there, we are working and we are improving and like many areas.”

#PLStories- Southampton manager Ruben Selles says he will prepare every game ‘to win’ #SAINTSFC

The St Mary’s outfit have a final game before the March international break on Saturday – when they will host Tottenham Hotspur – and that will take us into the last 10.

Saints will next play in two weeks’ time, with a visit to West Ham United. David Moyes’s side are also fighting a relegation battle despite still competing in the Europa Conference League knockouts.

Reaching the magic 40-point mark seems unlikely for bottom-place Saints, who would need 18 points from their remaining games. However, Selles will want to total as many as possible.

“I don’t want to sit on defeat for one hour, that is what I can tell you. So imagine for two weeks,” he said.

“I will prepare every game to win the game, to do the best performance we can and to get the best results.”

The Spaniard added: “That’s what I want for tomorrow, I don’t think about what will happen if we have to sit on a defeat for two weeks though. It’s all about what we can do today.

“Then it’s what can we do tomorrow, how can we support the boys during the game and do the very best performance. Whatever will come will come.”

Selles still has the difficult task of leaving half a dozen or more fit seniors out of his 20-man matchday squads every week, due to the number of players he has.

The likes of January signing Mislav Orsic are among those not playing regular minutes, while Samuel Edozie has also fallen down the order under Selles.

The boss was asked if a defeat like Wednesday’s – losing 2-0 at home to Brentford – gives him the opportunity to consider players as of yet not making an impact.

“We didn’t get all the principles we want against Brentford. We analysed what happened in the game and how we can attack (against Tottenham),” he said.

“Tomorrow is a different challenge and we may use a different player, but we’ll learn from the key moments of the defeat on Wednesday night.

“I think every player should have the hope to get into the team if they work hard and we are happy with what they are doing.

“They can control their performances and what they do and then it is up to me to pick the team. I can understand that from the outside, it seems players are disappointed.

“Sometimes people are disappointed, all of us in any given job think we can do it and in football with other people making the decisions it is difficult.”

#PLStories- Julen Lopetegui thinks Wolves have to keep wining as a lot of teams are in relegation battle #WolvesFC

Julen Lopetegui has urged Wolves to stay focused during their scrap for survival. Leeds go to Molineux on Saturday (3pm) to kick-start the hosts’ Premier League run-in. Wolves face five of their relegation rivals across their final 11 matches –…

#PLStories- AFC Bournemouth defender Adam Smith hoping to replicate Cherries performances against Liverpool and Arsenal repeat #AFCB

AFC Bournemouth defender Adam Smith has urged his teammates to replicate their performances against Arsenal and Liverpool when they face Aston Villa this weekend. Villa host the Cherries on Saturday for a 3pm kick-off and will be widely expected to…

#PLStories- Gary O Neil explains how Aston Villa changed after Unai Emery replaced Steven Gerrard #AVFC #AFCB

When Aston Villa played Bournemouth on the first weekend of the first weekend of the season, Steven Gerrard and Scott Parker were in the respective dugouts. The Cherries were comfortable winners that day at Dean Court, but much has changed…

#PLStories- Unai Emery makes Aston Villa revelation and defends transfer approach #AVFC

Unai Emery says he has no regrets looking back at Aston Villa’s January transfer window. Across the six games since the January window closed, Emery has had two goalkeepers on his bench in all but one match (vs Arsenal). For…

#PLStories- Roberto De Zerbi reminds players about taking remaining FA Cup games seriously #BHAFC

But the Seagulls head coach does not see that being an issue.

Town have beaten five clubs above them in the pyramid – Plymouth, Cambridge, Burton, Luton and Southampton – to get this far.

Nevertheless, De Zerbi admits that on paper his side have a huge opportunity to reach a Wembley semi-final.

He said: “It will be a difficult game but I want (the) players to give 100% of possibilities.

“I want our fans to support our players because Sunday is a difficult game. We have to not think, ‘We are Brighton from the Premier League and Grimsby are in the fourth division’, because we would make a big mistake.

“We have to play seriously, because for us it is a big opportunity to go to Wembley.”

De Zerbu said there would be no lack of motivation among his squad.

He added: “The players want to go to Wembley, the atmosphere inside the dressing room is as if we’re preparing for a normal game in the Premier League.”

#PLStories- Gary O’Neil reveals not being involved in Jordan Zemura contract situation #AFCB

With Lloyd Kelly and Matias Vina returning to fitness, Zemura was a surprise omission from the squad to face Liverpool last weekend, having impressed in recent weeks.

The Daily Echo understands the 23-year-old was left out due to his ongoing contraction situation.

Zemura’s current deal expires this summer, after the club triggered a one-year extension clause in his contract in March 2022.

It is understood the club have offered Zemura a significant pay-rise from his current terms, but the London-born ace or his representatives are yet to respond or engage in discussions.

Speaking after the win over Liverpool, O’Neil said the Zimbabwe international’s absence was an “internal decision”.

Ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Aston Villa, O’Neil was asked if Zemura had a future at Cherries.

He said: “I think Jordan has had a good time here, of course.

“My job at the moment, I don’t get involved at all in contract situations, just purely on team selection.

“As we saw, Lloyd Kelly is back fit now and can play left-back.

“We’ve got a Uruguay international back available, Matias Vina, who has trained well.

“So we have three very capable left-backs at the moment. So some tough decisions for me, but also positives that we have more options.”

Asked if Zemura remains in his thoughts when picking his team, O’Neil added: “All of them are, always.

“I’ll always make an honest and what I believe to be a sensible decision around who is best to play.”

Zemura, who arrived from Charlton Athletic in 2019 after a successful spell on trial, made his first-team debut in September 2020.

His breakthrough campaign was last season, under Scott Parker, featuring in 33 Championship matches, helping the club clinch promotion.

Cherries have long been trying to tie Zemura down to a longer-term contract, but no agreement has been reached, with other Premier League clubs credited with an interest.

#PLStories- Nottingham Forest boss Steve Cooper expresses ‘frustration’ over Newcastle United defeat #NFFC

Head coach Steve Cooper was left frustrated by some poor decision-making from his side as Nottingham Forest lost 2-1 to Newcastle United at the City Ground. Steve Cooper said: “We’re really frustrated to lose. It was a difficult game. The…

#PLStories- Aston Villa’s Unai Emery admits they showed respect against AFC Bournemouth despite being safe #AVFC

After an iffy start to the campaign under previous boss Steven Gerrard, former Arsenal boss Emery has steered the Birmingham-based outfit away from the foot of the table, positioning them in a far more comfortable 10th place.

With 11 points and six teams separating themselves from the relegation zone, Villa are one of a few teams in the Premier League safe from the drop but a distance away from the battle for Europe.

In recent weeks Gary O’Neil has changed his backline to deal with the threat of Manchester City and Arsenal, operating with a three-man central defence, before reverting to the more familiar back four in the win over Liverpool last time out.

Discussing Cherries, Emery shared: “It will be a very difficult match, because they are in a good moment. They focus on getting away from the bottom.

“It will be a big challenge for us.

“They are changing their shape; sometimes playing with four, sometimes with five. Their best performance is playing 4-4-2.

“We have to respect them. We have to know their shape and that if something is changing, how to defend against them and to attack them.

“Individually, we have to know their characteristics as players. Their shapes with the ball and without the ball.

“They now have confidence and we have to adapt to them but impose our idea as well. We have to fight the duels being winners. That is the challenge tomorrow.”


#PLStories- David Moyes on West Ham’s AEK Larnaca win, Gianluca Scamacca and Divin Mubama #WHUFC

What did you make of the performance this evening? We did a really professional job. It was always a risky game, if they got a goal back it would’ve made us all a bit anxious. We started the game really…

#PLStories- Romain Perraud wants Southampton to be ‘more killers in front of goal’ #SAINTSFC

The Frenchman was one of those picked out as visibly distraught on the pitch following the conclusion of Wednesday’s 2-0 loss.

Many Saints supporters are resigned to relegation but there are still 11 games to play and just two points separating the bottom from safety.

After seven points in Ruben Selles’s first five matches as manager, even the second loss to Thomas Frank’s Bees does not wrap things up.

Perraud insists Saints have to maintain a fighting spirit to stand a chance of beating the drop and playing Premier League football next campaign.

“We have to keep going. Keep a good mentality. Keep a fighting spirit because, you know, when you play to stay in the Premier League, the most important thing is just to be ready and be focused, especially mentally because sometimes it can be hard,” he said.

“Of course, I was disappointed. The situation is tough for us and for everybody. You know, we play for life as well, for the fans and for the club but I will never give up. We need to be ready on Saturday.

“It’s difficult to say but it was not enough (the reason for defeat). We were inoffensive. We conceded a goal on set pieces and we know this team is very good on corners and on free-kicks, everything,” Perraud added.

“But I think we controlled the game, we had the ball but we didn’t find the connection between us. And at the end of the day, it was not enough in terms of situations, in terms of shorts, crosses. We have a game on Saturday and we will be ready to fight for this game.

“We were ready to compete and it’s tough because we wanted to give a good game but it was not enough. We need to forget this and try to move on knowing our situation.”

The upcoming game Perraud repeatedly references is another home tie, with Tottenham Hotspur visiting on Saturday, March 18.

Saints could still climb out of the relegation zone with a victory, while Spurs manager Antonio Conte comes under increasing pressure in their hunt for the top four.

“I think we improved our way to play in the last four or five games. Sometimes it can happen, you can lose or win some games,” Perraud, who is still wearing a cast covering half of his hand after breaking his little finger at Chelsea, added.

“Wednesday I think it was not enough and hopefully we will be ready for Saturday. We know this team is playing for the Champions League but we played a good game in Chelsea and at Old Trafford, so we’re ready to fight.”

Saints will need to find a goalscoring touch to have any luck after failing to score for a third time in the five matches Selles has managed.

In the two games in which they have scored – once – Saints have won courtesy of clean sheets. No team has scored fewer goals than the St Mary’s side in the Premier League this season (20).

“I will be every time behind my guys because it is about a team, maybe we have to be more killers in front of the goal,” Perraud admitted. 

“It was not enough of course, but we need to keep believing. We have to believe, it’s very close at the bottom of the league so now we need to give a good performance against Spurs.”

#PLStories- Mikel Arteta on Saliba’s injury, Martinelli’s miss and bouncing back from Europa League exit #ARSENALFC

How much of a disappointment? Yeah, a huge blow. We really wanted to go through in the competition and fight and go for it. Today we tried for 120 minutes and penalties and it wasn’t enough. Congrats to Sporting Lisbon…

#PLStories- Antonio Conte on his and Harry Kane’s future and whether Hugo Lloris comes straight back into first 11 #THFC

What’s the latest team news? No news, no new injuries. You know Sessegnon is out, Bissouma, Bentancur and Lloris. No new injuries. We have another training session tomorrow but fingers crossed I hope for nothing different. You were animated vs…

#PLStories- Evan Ferguson praised by Ireland boss Stephen Kenny #BHAFC

The Albion striker has been named in the Republic of Ireland squad to face the Word Cup finalists in a Euro 2024 qualifier a week on Monday.

Republic boss Stephen Kenny has been impressed with his efforts in the Premier League since breaking into Roberto De Zerbi’s side.

Kenny said: “Evan has been very, very good and he’s made it look easy at times. He’s come in and he makes good decisions, he always seems to make good decisions.

“He has a variety of attributes. He leads the line well and he links the play well and he has the capacity to score goals, so those are good attributes.”

The Irish play Latvia in a friendly as they prepare to meet the French.

Kenny said: “France have been the best team in the world over a period now because they won the World Cup in 2018 and then obviously lost recently on penalties to win consecutive World Cups.

“They’ve been a phenomenal team, so them coming here to Dublin, we view it as an opportunity also. We’ve been building our own team for the last couple of years for this campaign and we’re excited by that.”

#PLStories- AFC Bournemouth’s Gary O’Neil on Dango Ouattara #AFCB

The Burkinabe international has provided three assists in seven Premier League appearances since arriving at the Vitality Stadium in January from FC Lorient for a reported £20million.

Ouattara teed up Phil Billing for what proved to be the winning goal on Saturday, Cherries defeating last year’s Champions League finalists Liverpool 1-0.

Prior to the opener on 28 minutes, Ouattara had two decent chances to open his scoring account for his new club.

In the more notable of the two opportunities, the former Lorient man found himself one-on-one with keeper Alisson, the winger’s touch to try and take the ball around the goalie too strong, forcing the resultant shot from a tight angle into the side netting.

However, despite the misses, O’Neil believed Cherries would have struggled to get into the same areas without Ouattara in the team.

He told the Daily Echo: “I think we wouldn’t have had that chance before he arrived, unless Tav (Marcus Tavernier) was fit.

“We might have managed to get Tav in those situations.

“So he’s brought an awful lot.

“And obviously we knew this before and we’ve done some work on (it), Alisson’s incredible in one-v-one situations, so even when you’re going through, they’re tough to finish, those.

“He just has a slightly too big a touch.

“He’s 20 years old and adapting to the Premier League, so, yeah, still plenty of work to do with him.”

There was also praise for Ouattara’s defensive contributions throughout the game, with O’Neil detailing how Cherries had asked the winger to track back and form a five-man backline when Liverpool had the ball.

O’Neil explained: “I don’t want to speak too much about it, but we felt there was certain people that we could get after, certain people that we were happy to leave with a bit more time on the ball.

“It was sort of a back four, but we knew Dango would have to track down with Andy Robertson, so it would look like a back five at times, which it did.

“Dango did it well in the majority. I think Andy Robertson got behind him once or twice early on.

“I thought we’d be able to hurt them on the counter, because their fullbacks are obviously attacking.

“Andy Robertson plays higher, Trent (Alexander-Arnold) rolls around, he ends up in midfield sometimes and there are spaces then down the side to try and counter.

“And we didn’t quite make the most of it, but we did enough to win the game.”

#PLStories- David Moyes explains why West Ham’s Gianluca Scamacca was substituted after goal vs AEK Larnaca #WHUFC

West Ham United manager David Moyes has explained why he substituted striker Gianluca Scamacca early in the second half during the 4-0 Europa Conference League round of 16 second leg win over AEK Larnaca. Speaking about the decision, Moyes said…

#PLStories- Thomas Frank picks out six Leicester City players as special before their meeting #BRENTFORDFC

Brentford manager Thomas Frank says he “admires” Leicester City and that their struggles this season serve as an important reminder of how teams can suffer. Ahead of the match in London, Brentford boss Frank has delivered his verdict on City…

#PLStories- Bryan Gil makes Sevilla loan claim as he discusses Tottenham, Antonio Conte and message to agent #THFC

Bryan Gil has admitted that he does not want the current season to come to an end. Following such a frustrating first part of the campaign where he missed out on a Tottenham summer exit and had to settle for…

#PLStories- Harry Winks makes major Antonio Conte admission amid uncertainty over Tottenham future #THFC

Harry Winks has stated that he has not heard from anyone at Tottenham during his Sampdoria loan spell. One of four players not part of Antonio Conte’s plans for the 2022/23 campaign, the midfielder finally departed Tottenham Hotspur Stadium at…

#PLStories- David Moyes sends message to West Ham’s Gianluca Scamacca about working hard #WHUFC

West Ham United manager David Moyes admits he wants striker Gianluca Scamacca to rekindle the form he showed earlier this season following comments about his “physical data.” Asked about his comments from just under 72 hours ago, Moyes said that…

#PLStories- West Ham’s David Moyes on Gianluca Scamacca, Jarrod Bowen and transfers #WHUFC

What is the latest on Vladimir Coufal and Michail Antonio after both missed training today? Just as you’ve sort of answered, Vladimir Coufal still has got a problem with his foot and Michail Antonio picked up a bit of a…

#PLStories- Patrick Vieira had revealed determination in Crystal Palace squad to turnaround the form before Brighton game #CPFC

Patrick Vieira has called on his Crystal Palace players to be more ruthless as the Eagles prepare to face Brighton. Palace head to the south coast to face their bitter rivals at the Amex Stadium, with the Eagles still searching…

#PLStories- Sean Dyche details why Demarai Gray is being given ‘licence’ to thrill for Everton #EVERTONFC

The name’s Gray… Demarai Gray. The 26-year-old is Everton’s top scorer so far this season with his effort from 12 yards out at the City Ground being his sixth goal of the campaign but after slotting in against Brentford at…

#PLStories- Ruben Selles admits Southampton side lost ‘principles’ in Brentford defeat #SAINTSFC

Goals from Ivan Toney and Yoanne Wissa saw the St Mary’s side remain rooted to the bottom of the Premier League despite a positive start to Selles’s managerial career.

Saints had kept a clean sheet and earned a point at Manchester United’s Old Trafford on the weekend – a third shut-out in four matches – but problems in front of goal persist.

The Bees, managed by Thomas Frank, also hammered Saints 3-0 just last month during the closing stages of Nathan Jones’s tenure.

This result leaves Saints with only 11 matches to save their Premier League status, needing to make up two points on those in safety.

“We came here to our stadium with the belief we could make a good performance and get the three points,” Selles said, speaking after the match.

“We didn’t manage the key moments of the game. We had a clear plan on how to do it and we showed this with principles in the last third, but we lost a little bit of those principles and the consequence of that was we didn’t have situations in the box.”

He added: “We have been working on scoring goals and we are not a team that will score a massive amount, but we can still get much better in the last third.

“We are working on it but it shows we are still fragile in that, we lost a bit of our structure and we need to work on keeping our structure and principles.

“In the second (Brentford) goal, we lost the structure and it was a long ball and second action. This can happen when you’re chasing the game, so we need to be better.”

Selles, however, reiterated his belief that Saints can beat the drop and avoid playing Championship football for the first time in over a decade next season.

“We are absolutely confident but we need to stop making mistakes in set-plays, be solid there and then we will find the goals to stay in the Premier League, no doubt about it,” he said.

“It is not only for us, but it is also for everybody in the Premier League that one mistake can lead to one goal, two mistakes are two goals and more mistakes are more goals.

“We just need to keep doing the things that keep us moving away from relegation, and we will have games like this where we lose our structure.

“We need to keep it more often and stay competitive more often when it is not in our favour, that is where we need to learn.”

#PLStories- Gary O’Neil admits Ryan Christie ‘unfortunate’ with injuries #AFCB

The Scot came off the bench at the weekend as he helped Cherries over the line against Liverpool, playing the final 20 minutes of the 1-0 win at the Vitality Stadium.

A regular starter for much of the campaign, the 28-year-old has had his playing time limited since the closure of the January transfer window.

The arrivals of Antoine Semenyo, Hamed Traore, and Dango Ouattara, all players who can operate in a similar position to the Scottish international, have seen Christie restricted to the bench in Cherries’ last six games.

In that time Christie has made three appearances, playing just under an hour of football (57 minutes).

When goalscorer Philip Billing tired at the weekend, Christie was introduced to great effect, the Scot able to calm play down and add much-needed composure to Cherries’ midfield.

Speaking about the former Celtic man, O’Neil told the Daily Echo: “Phil was struggling a little bit (on Friday) with something, so Ryan Christie knew the role as well, knew tactically what was going to be expected of him.

“Ryan’s been unfortunate really in the last few, and he knows this as well, to play as little as he has.

“Because his training effort and his performances when he does come on have been of a very good level, the same as (against Liverpool).

“So we’re getting stronger. There’s people coming back. Jeff back today. Lloyd back today. Makes a big difference to us.”

With new arrivals in January combining with the return of players from injury, Cherries’ bench looks far stronger than it has in recent months.

O’Neil concurred, continuing: “If we’d have been short numbers wise, and Liverpool had made four subs to freshen things up, and we’d have been sat there with three of the young lads on the bench, it makes it very, very difficult.

“You’re relying on people that look like they’re tired.

“So Philip Billing, Jefferson, Jaidon Anthony had put a lot in, and the ability to freshen them up without weakening the team is huge.

“I felt that really helped us (against Liverpool).”

#PLStories- AFC Bournemouth’s Lewis Cook on recent spell on sidelines with injury #AFCB

One-time England international Cook had missed five games following an ACL sprain suffered away at Brentford in January.

The 26-year-old had previously sustained ACL ruptures, most recently missing eight months out between March and October 2021.

Those two injuries put in perspective the most recent setback according to the former Leeds United man.

Cook told the Daily Echo: “I think when I when I look back on six weeks out, I knew straight away when I did the injury, I don’t think there’s anything to compare to what I previously had.

“Six weeks is nothing, really.

“It was just obviously the ligament was, not an awkward one, but I kind of catch it now and again, leading up to coming back to full fitness, so it’s a bit of a different rehab.

“But they (the physio team) were great. We worked really hard and, yeah, I felt like it might have been a bit longer than it was going to be, but we worked really hard to try and get back as quickly as we can.”

There was concern when the Yorkshireman went down clutching the rear of his knee at the Gtech Community Stadium, with Cherries fans unsurprisingly fearing the worst considering Cook’s previous ACL tears.

However, the player himself had nothing to fear, calmly explaining: “I knew straight away what I’d done.

“And I knew it was nothing to do with a previous injury.

“I think that mechanism of how I got injured, is quite common in football and it happens to a lot of players in their career, so I knew what it was and how we were going to deal with it.

“And like I said, we worked hard to get back.”Cook made his return to the matchday squad for the trip to the Emirates two weeks ago, coming off the bench to play the final 20 minutes of a heart-breaking defeat to league leaders Arsenal.

He then made another cameo appearance against Liverpool, helping see out the final nine minutes of a famous win over the Reds for Cherries.

Asked if he had any doubts about being thrown into the deep end after injury, Cook responded: “No apprehension, no.

“I feel like you do your rehab, your running, your technical work to build you up to play in these games.

“I feel like I was ready.

“The lads have been working their socks off to try and get these points on the board, so I just wanted to try and be available to help.”

Cook and co. return to action this weekend, when they travel to Aston Villa in the final game prior to the international break.


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#PLStories- Southampton FC manager Ruben Selles reveals message to Kyle Walker-Peters & Armel Bella Kotchap after racist abuse #SAINTSFC

Shortly after the full-time whistle at Old Trafford, multiple racist comments were left on past Instagram posts of Kyle Walker-Peters while Armel Bella Kotchap also suffered similar online abuse.

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Saints released a strong statement on Monday morning condemning the abuse and calling on social media companies to do more to stop the problem. And on Tuesday afternoon, speaking ahead of his side’s clash with Brentford, Selles offered his thoughts.

“We realised immediately after the game that we had that situation and the club have made a strong statement everywhere, not only on social media but in the places that you need to be,” he said. “This is a strong strategy and it’s a good strategy and I support my club in those moments.

“I think that discrimination cannot be a part of society, especially when inside our dressing room we have 16 or 17 nationalities. It is an environment of togetherness and unity from different backgrounds.

“I think the policy from the Premier League during the last two or three years with their ‘stop harassment’ message has been really strong. But apparently, we have a still job to do.

“I will continue being on the side of the people who are against discrimination and that’s what we are doing and of course giving all the support to our players, to Kyle (Walker-Peters) and to Armel (Bella-Kotchap).

“Nobody should get these kinds of comments. Not on social media or in any place. So I’m with my club and with my players and I’m against discrimination.”

The full statement from the club can be read below:

“In February 2021 the club made a statement about one of our young players receiving abhorrent racial abuse following a match against Manchester United.

“More than two years on, we find ourselves in the exact same position: disgusted and disappointed in the behaviour of those online who lower themselves to abusing players for the colour of their skin.

“What is equally frustrating is the lack of meaningful action in those two years from the social media platforms who allow such hatred to breed and fester.

“As we have said before, Southampton Football Club fights every day to remove such people from our sport and our community in order to protect our players, our staff, Southampton fans and those football supporters around the world who recognise and celebrate the diversity that makes football special.

“We have forwarded the messages concerned to Hampshire Police in keeping with our normal processes when dealing with these cases.

“We have also reported these posts to the social media platforms involved.

“We can only hope that they finally pay attention to what continues to be a major problem and that we do not find ourselves repeating these words in another two years time.”

#PLStories- Brighton’s De Zerbi on having Adam Lallana after new contract #BHAFC

The 34-year-old signed a new one-year deal with the Seagulls yesterday.

De Zerbi described him as “unique” in what he offers to the team – even off the pitch.

Lallana had hamstring surgery four weeks ago and hopes to be back in contention for the end of season games.

Lallana with De Zerbi after signing his new one year deal (Image: BHAFC/Paul Hazlewood)

De Zerbi said: “I am really pleased for Adam, it is an honour to be his coach.

“It is an honour for the other players to play with Adam and for the club to have in our team one player who is so good, so important and has so much experience.

“He is a positive guy and a very important player for us. For now, he is unlucky with his injury but he will be important for us.

“I don’t know if he will be able to play this season but for the importance inside the team, we lost an important player who is unique on the pitch. His quality is different to the other players in our squad but we can play in other ways.”

Lallana against Norwich last season

Lallana, who joined on a free nearly three years ago, had three goals and an assist in all competition for Albion.

He enjoyed a good run of games in the number ten role before his injury in January.

Lallana was full of praise for De Zerbi after signing his new contract.

He said: “The faith he’s shown in me personally I don’t think I could do justice in words to be honest, but I’ll try. 

“He is special, really special. I’ve been blessed to work with great managers in my career and this guy is right up there. 

“He teaches, he inspires, he makes teams and individuals better. He’s the full package. When he said he wanted me to stay longer there was no way I could turn that down.”

Adam Webster is confirmed to be in the squad for Brighton’s fixture against Palace tomorrow night, while Tariq Lamptey will be assessed tomorrow.

#PLStories- AFC Bournemouth’s Lloyd Kelly discusses battle with Mo Salah after shock Cherries win against Liverpool #AFCB

Defender Kelly was chucked somewhat into the deep end on his return from injury, slotting into the Cherries team at left-back against one of the world’s best wingers.

However, the 24-year-old cut a composed figure throughout the encounter, keeping the Egyptian quiet and helping his side to a famous 1-0 victory over the Reds.

Kelly had been sidelined with a calf injury since January, causing him to miss five Premier League fixtures. It has been a frustrating season on the injury front for the Bristolian, who missed nine games earlier on in the campaign with an ankle complaint.

Discussing the win over Liverpool, Kelly told BBC Radio Solent: “I think I knew it was going to be a tough game, of course, being out for several weeks, but going into the game it was the same mentality of if I perform to the best, I’m sure everyone else did, we’d be able to come away with a result.

“I think we stuck to what the gaffer wanted, from the start of the game till the end. I think we stuck to that, and produced a top performance.

“We always knew that the game was going to start fast, and they put us under pressure.

“We just needed to settle it, as soon as we’d done that, everyone felt a lot more comfortable and we were able to play through our shape and cause them problems.”

Asked about facing Salah, Kelly continued: “He’s always tough. He’s a top, top player. You know he has quality on the transition, he’s proved that numerous times this season.

“I knew that I had to be on my game, and be alert to those situations, and I think I’ve done that.”

Salah’s quiet afternoon was compounded by a miss from the penalty spot, a rarity from the Egyptian.

“There’s always a possibility (he’ll miss),” restarted Kelly.

“It’s one of those things, you never know what it is going to happen. You just need to react to it, and luckily it went wide.”



#PLStories- Southampton FC manager Ruben Selles explains recent absence of Mislav Orsic #SAINTSFC

Orsic, who signed from Dinamo Zagreb in January, is yet to start for Saints in the Premier League and hasn’t even appeared on the bench in any of his side’s last six league games.

The Croatian has three starts in the FA Cup and League Cup – most recently in defeat to Grimsby Town – but in each of those games he has been removed around the hour-mark with little lasting impact.

And speaking ahead of Wednesday night’s clash with Brentford, Selles explained the 30-year-old’s absence while highlighting the work he’s put in behind the scenes.

READ MORE: Saints team news as Arsenal loanee faces late fitness test ahead of Brentford clash

“He’s working hard. He’s very professional,” Selles said. “At the end of the day, as I said in the beginning, every time we will sit here we will talk about a player that is not in the squad, because it’s very big. And sometimes it’s about my decision. And with Mislav, it’s my decision to bring some other players in front of him. 

“We’ve had a conversation. I communicated with him. I respect all of them (players not in the squad), including Mislav. And they try to be clear with my point of view every time. So there is no more or no less than the others. And then in the end of the day, I need to decide and that’s what they do.”

Meanwhile, another player who has raised eyebrows with his lack of action is youngster Edozie. After a slow start to his Saints career, the former Manchester City attacker was one of few members of the squad to excel under the stewardship of Nathan Jones.

With the former Luton boss at the helm, Edozie appeared in eight straight league games while starting five of those. But since Selles took charge for Saints trip to Stamford Bridge, Edozie is yet to make the matchday squad.

“I can imagine that it is difficult for him,” Selles said of the 20-year-old’s recent spell out of the first team fold. 

“I have had a couple of conversations with him and I understand that it is difficult. When we make a squad we need in his positions a specific behavior and that’s where we are trying to find him. 

“So when we think that he’s ready to play in the conditions and in the situations that we think he can do it and he can do it really good for us, then he will step inside. But again it’s like with Mislav [Orsic] or with other players left out of the squad. 

“I have 30 players and I need to make decisions and I need to make decisions concerning what is best for the team, not what is best for one individual.”

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