Following a loss to Nottingham Forest that leaves Southampton eight points from safety with only three games remaining, James Ward-Prowse reflected on a pattern of disappointing defeats.
The hosts ran out 4-3 victors at the City Ground, with Taiwo Awoniyi netting a three-minute brace and Morgan Gibbs-White converting a penalty either side of a response from Charly Alcaraz.
Rubén Sellés’s side rallied early in the second half as substitute Lyanco grabbed his first goal for the club, before Danilo hit a fourth for Steve Cooper’s side, rendering Ward-Prowse’s 96th-minute penalty nothing more than a consolation.
Leaving Saints in a perilous position at the foot of the table, Southampton’s captain provided an honest assessment.
“Disappointing result,” he began. “We know every game that nears the end of the season has more magnitude and is increasingly important and we spoke before the game about giving ourselves a good foothold in the game and competing and not giving goals away in the way that we did, and against any team, if you give one or two goals away you always give yourselves a difficult challenge ahead and it proved to be too much in the end.
“We knew before that we’d have a lot of possession and they’d give us the ball and allow us to play in their final third, but the games are won and lost at both ends of the pitch and when you give two goals away in the way that we did, and yeah, we scored three goals but it’s still not enough and I think that says a lot about where we are as a team at the minute.
“It’s been too easy. Right from the first game against Spurs until now we’ve not really learned anything, not really progressed, we’ve just taken these results as they are and that’s the most disappointing thing. When you keep doing the same thing and keep getting the same results, we’ve not learnt from it and that’s the frustrating thing.”
Now needing to win their final three fixtures against Fulham, Brighton and Liverpool and rely on results elsewhere to avoid relegation, Saints’ record Premier League appearance holder opened up on the task in hand.
“It hurts everybody. It’s not just me, it’s everybody’s careers, it’s everybody’s opportunity to do something special for this club and it’s not just me, it hurts everybody, it hurts all the fans and everybody associated with the club.
“It’s clear we have to win all of our games and that’s the position we find ourselves in. Like I said, every game has increased importance and yeah, the challenge hasn’t changed, we have to win our games and obviously hope everything goes our way and we have to focus on the next one now.”