Stephens issues rallying cry

Live Matchday Images/2023-24/20240423 Leicester vs Southampton/MW_Leicester_Southampton_144_dmvbm8

Captain Jack Stephens offered an honest reflection of Saints’ nightmarish night in Leicester on what he called an “unacceptable” performance.

Abdul Fatawu’s goal was the difference at the break before Wilfred Ndidi provided some breathing space for the hosts just past the hour-mark.

Facing an uphill battle, a difficult night capitulated with three Foxes goals in six minutes, as Fatawu completed his hat-trick and Jamie Vardy compounded the visitors’ misery.

Introduced off the bench at the King Power Stadium, Stephens reflected on a night that practically, if not mathematically, ended Saints’ hopes of automatic promotion.

“A lot of emotions,” the skipper began. “Frustration, embarrassed. It’s just not acceptable. Really not acceptable to finish the game like that the way we did.

“At two nil the game is nowhere near over, we’ve seen what this league’s like, we’ve seen what can happen in the last 20 minutes against any teams, so to roll over and just sort of give up like we did is not acceptable for this football club and that’s on us as a team and it's only up to us to do something about that.”

Suffering back-to-back defeats for the first time since February, Stephens spoke of the need to find some form in the final two games of the season before the play-offs.

“There’s no other option. We can just let this season fizzle out and that’s almost what it felt like tonight, we can’t allow that to happen.

“We’ve got two games to really show that we want to fight for where we want to get to and then we go into the play-offs with real momentum because if you don’t do that then teams are going to be coming for us in the play-offs and really feel like they’ve got a chance against us.

“We’ve come so far this season, got very close to the top two, come up short, and we’ve got a great opportunity to go up through the play-offs and we have to go into that with momentum. So we don’t have a choice, we have to bounce back, we have to use this tonight, we have to understand that it’s not good enough and not acceptable for this football club and for the fans that travelled tonight and we have to look at each other in the eyes and really ask some honest questions and really be honest with each other because like I say, it can’t happen.

“We need to really bounce back on Saturday in the last home game of the season before the play-offs, we need to show the fans we’re grateful for what they’ve done this season and we need to give them a good performance and we need to win the game.”