Downes happy to take clean sheet to St Mary’s

Live Matchday Images/2023-24/20240512 West Brom vs Southampton Play Off First Leg/106A2854_c4be976b-5f05-4fd4-ba56-7de5b398772a_20240512030112_jmyayh

Midfielder Flynn Downes believes keeping a clean sheet at West Brom is a big boost heading into next Friday’s play-off semi-final decider at St Mary’s.

Saints played out a goalless affair at The Hawthorns to tee up a winner takes all showdown on the south coast next week.

Following a game of limited chances, Downes reflected on the afternoon’s performance:

I thought the boys were excellent,” he began. “The conditions were tough. It’s a dry pitch, very dry, I think the way we want to play that doesn’t help at all. Dry pitch, hot weather, it was tough to get going.

“Weathered the storm early doors, they had a good 15 minutes when they were on top but look, we knew that was coming, it’s the play-offs, filled out stadium, we knew it was coming, but yeah, I thought the boys were excellent ad dug in the whole 90 minutes.

“We’ve just got to stick together, everyone do their jobs and we did that, didn’t concede, obviously a gutter not to score, should’ve scored to be honest, but we’re going back to our place where we have the crowd now, have that extra man, so let’s see what happens.

“We obviously wanted to win the game, but if we couldn’t, keep a clean sheet and we did that today so looking forward to Friday back at our place.”

With St Mary’s already sold out for the Friday night clash, Downes is well aware of the difference the home faithful can make.

“It’s nerve-wracking for everyone. It’s winner takes all really. But as I said, we’ve got the advantage as it’s at home, it’s at our place, so the crowd can get behind us and see where it takes us, hopefully we get the win.

On the benefit of home advantage, he added: “It’s massive. Counts as the extra man at times. Can see it here, first 15 minutes when the crowd really got going it’s tough, I don’t know why, I don’t what it does but it makes it hard for the opposition and we need it, we need everyone behind us and let’s see where it takes us.”

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