James Ward-Prowse says the Southampton players were given no explanation for why the ball was not returned to them in the lead up to Leicester’s first goal in Saints’ defeat at the King Power Stadium.

With the game still goalless in the early moments of the second half, play was stopped for Jamie Vardy to receive treatment following an off-the-ball clash with Oriol Romeu whilst Saints were in possession of the ball.

But when the action resumed, the ball was returned to Kasper Schmeichel, whose long clearance downfield led to the opening goal for James Maddison.

“No explanation,” Ward-Prowse responded, when asked about the incident, which would prove a major turning point in the game. “We were in possession when the collision happened.

“I don’t think it was given as a free-kick, hence why the ball was dropped, passed back to the keeper and he gestured that we were going to receive the ball back.

“Obviously we could have defended it better, but in the way of sportsmanship and things like that, I think the incident could have been dealt with a bit better.”

By Ward-Prowse’s own admission, Saints were well beaten in the end. The skipper pulled a goal back to make it 2-1 with 11 minutes left, but the Foxes eventually ran out 4-1 winners on the final day.

“There’s a bigger picture than that, and ultimately we’ve conceded four goals and not won the game, so that’s the main issue for us,” he continued.

“First half we were really good in the game, we limited to them to no real chances, we had a lot of possession.

“The incident has changed the flow of the game, and to go 1-0 down is incredibly hard in the Premier League, but there’s a bigger picture than the incident itself, and ultimately we’ve conceded four.”