Adkins: Evian Victory Shows Progress

By SFC Media Sun 22 Jul Club

First Team Manager Nigel Adkins said Saturday's win over Évian Thonon Gaillard perfectly rounded off a hugely-positive training camp.

Jason Puncheon's goal saw Saints run out 1-0 victors at Stade Joseph-Moynat to secure their second victory from the two games they have played this week.

And Adkins believes there were plenty of things to take out of the evening's work put in by his players.

"It's a victory, but it's not about the victories at the moment - it's about the progression," Nigel told Saints Player.

"We are three weeks into pre-season now and the lads' level of fitness are up.

"It was a good game for us.

"Punch scored a good goal and could have had another one when he hit the crossbar, while Jay Rodriguez has had a header where the keeper has had to make a great save.

"We kept the ball very well. We played a bit higher up tonight and moved the ball around to give them problems, and we had a very good defensive shape about ourselves.

"I think we did very well against them," Adkins added of his team's Ligue 1 opponents.

"I know from speaking with Morgan [Schneiderlin] after the game that he heard some of their players running around saying they didn't have a clue how to deal with us, so that is pleasing."

The match saw new signings Paulo Gazzaniga and Nathaniel Clyne make their Saints debuts as second-half substitutes, with goalkeeper Paulo playing the entire period and Clyne the latter 22 minutes.

"Paulo Gazzaniga kept a clean sheet and looked very assured," said the Manager.

"Nathan Clyne has come on, and what an exciting prospect he is - so we are delighted about that.

"It was planned," Adkins said of Clyne's appearance after the former Crystal Palace man replaced Luke Shaw, who had only come on at half time himself.

"Nathan has only had one day of pre-season so just to get him 20 minutes on the pitch was good, and Luke has been working very hard and has a little niggle so we planned to give them half of a half each."

The gaffer also had words of praise for goalscorer Puncheon, who has picked up the second-highest amount of game-time so far this pre-season out of the entire Saints squad.

"Punch has had an excellent three weeks of pre-season," Adkins said of the winger.

"He scored a good goal that has rounded off the three weeks of hard work that he has put in."

Nigel will shortly take his squad back to England, where they will return to Staplewood and continue their preparations for life in the Barclays Premier League.

So how does the gaffer assess the week spent on the continent?

"It has been a good exercise coming away from home and staying in a superb environment," he says.

"There has been no stone unturned from the Club, which is great.

"We have got through to week three with no major injuries and it is pleasing that we have controlled that well.

"We have tried out different formations and done a lot of different things well. The players have all stepped up and acquitted themselves well which is very pleasing.

"It's been a good week of training and we are three weeks in[to pre-season] now, so we go back to England - hopefully the sun will be out there too!"

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