Martin: We should've been out of sight

Live Matchday Images/2023-24/20240329 Southampton vs Middlesbrough/106A3457_ar9wkw

Russell Martin was left lamenting missed chances after Southampton were pegged back by Middlesbrough on a frustrating afternoon at St Mary’s.

Back in action after three weeks without playing, Saints were sharp out of the blocks and took an early lead through Adam Armstrong’s 19th goal of the season.

The hosts had numerous opportunities to put the game to bed in the second half, with clear-cut chances falling to Ché Adams and Armstrong, only for Boro to hit back with a 90th-minute equaliser, as Emmanuel Latte Lath headed home a right-wing cross.

“We should be out of sight. We have two shots in the middle of the six-yard box, two of them unopposed in the second half, so we should win,” the manager reflected.

“The [Middlesbrough] goal is rubbish – you’ve got to stop the cross, and then no marking in the box at all is ridiculous, so I’m really angry at that.

“We hadn’t played for three weeks, a lot of players away this week, but we started the game really, really well.

“We were so lacking in intensity for the last 15 minutes of the first half, which was frustrating. That’s the only period in the game I’m really unhappy about, because apart from that we were dominant.

“We created so many chances in the second half, so the lads responded really well to that period of the game, but it was just a lack of energy in that period, and at that point we need to go and try to score more, keep turning the screw and make Middlesbrough go in really feeling it at half time.

“But they would’ve gone in feeling there might be a chance in it for them, and then in the second half we created some really brilliant chances, played some great football, the fans were great, the atmosphere was really good, I thought we’d get the second goal and then you get sucker-punched like that.

“If you’re not going to score and put the team to the sword and be really ruthless in front of goal, which we should’ve been, then you need to defend properly and keep a clean sheet, and unfortunately in one moment we haven’t done that.

“There were some really good moments and really good performances, but of course it’s tinged and tainted with the result and how late it was, which leaves everyone feeling completely different.”

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