Martin proud and encouraged after win at Leeds

Live Matchday Images/2023-24/20240504 Leeds vs Southampton/MW_Leeds_Southampton_112_papopk

Russell Martin was encouraged by what he saw from his team in their 2-1 win at Leeds United, as they now prepare for a play-off semi-final against West Brom.

Saints signed off from the regular portion of the Championship season with three points at Elland Road, as goals from Adam Armstrong and Will Smallbone ended a run of three consecutive defeats and injected new optimism ahead of the crucial clash with the Baggies.

"I really enjoyed a lot of aspects to it," said Martin. "We showed a different side to our game today, which was really nice. More aggression, some really fast and quick football in the first half in particular, some brilliant openings for us.

"We could have scored one or two more, being really picky, but playing against a really good team, and then we soaked up pressure towards the end as well, and brilliant the way the guys defended and stuck together.

"So I enjoyed lots of it, and there's lots of learning to take from it as well I think, and I think we can be better, but I'm really pleased for everyone, the supporters, the players, the staff, that we can finish the season like that.

"Amazing support again, because it was a tough week for us last week."

Martin added: "It's been so frustrating and so tiring really, the energy that you get taken out of all of us, supporters, players, staff, so a bit of a reset this week and actual time to work on the grass has been really nice, because we haven't had it for six weeks and the lads worked like beasts and they put it on the pitch today and I'm really grateful to them and proud of them.

"I wanted a good performance for everyone, for the fans, for the players, for the staff, to then build on and thankfully we've got the result as well, but I wanted a performance with the energy that we lacked in the last couple and the courage that we've not lacked, but just not with the same intensity, and today they did that and we have to keep that going always.

"We have to keep demanding that from the players and we need that now. We're going to have two tough games, but I think everyone goes into it now looking a bit more positive, with more energy, I think the supporters hopefully will feel good about today and we'll look forward to it as well. We're going to need them, it's going to be two huge games and I'm really looking forward to it."

Saints beat West Brom in both meetings this season, but Martin says that will count for nothing when the sides meet in the play-offs.

"The play-offs is a different mentality, it's a different beast," he said. "Of course, we'll watch both those games, see what worked, see what didn't, see what difficulties we faced. We'll watch their last few games, we'll watch ours and make sure we're really prepared and we know what we want to do, we'll have a clear plan, but it's totally different to the league, so we have to make sure we prepare in the right way and be ready for that."