Morgan Schneiderlin believes Tuesday’s game against Crystal Palace has a similar feel to when Everton visited St Mary’s in December.
Schneiderlin, who missed that 3-0 win over the Toffees through injury, says the team’s current spell of form is similar to what Saints went through before Christmas when a five league game winless run threatened to derail their season.
A record of one goal and four points collected from their past five Premier league games has put Saints on the backfoot again, but Schneiderlin says the onus is on the players to show that they are ready to produce for the rest of the season, starting with the visit of Palace.
“It feels like a déjà vu,” he told reporters on Monday. “In December we had this thing, and then we lost against Sheffield United. Everyone was down, it was maybe our worst performance of the season, then the week after we won against Everton, so it can change a lot. Things can change in football in very small details.
“Hopefully in the first minute we are going to find the net and then win easy that game – it’s just that little thing. I’m confident now – we [have a] full squad, full strength, no excuses, and it’s up for us to deliver.”
Opponents Crystal Palace, by contrast, have hit a rich vein of form on their travels, including an FA Cup win at St Mary’s in January, which saw Schneiderlin’s former colleagues, Jason Puncheon and Alan Pardew, get one over on the Frenchman.
“Of course, they (Palace) are a real handful. Since they changed the manager they have a new confidence about themselves. I think the manager is where he wants to be, where he enjoys to be, and the players are enjoying themselves under him.
“The players they have attacking wise is very good, with [Wilfried] Zaha, [Yannick] Bolasie, [Jason] Puncheon and [Yaya] Sanogo – [Glenn] Murray, he’s suspended – but they have very good qualities and when they play in the FA Cup I could see. They worked very hard and it was not just they are playing with the ball, it was without the ball as well.
“It was very surprising how [Marouane] Chamakh worked very hard, so it’s going to be just up to us to maintain those players and to score goals because I am confident if you play at full capacity we are going to win that game, but it is going to be up to us to set up the standard, to respond to the physical part that they are going to give us.
“They have a good set-pieces taker. It’s going to be a hard day, but I’m confident if we play in our game we will win the game.”
Schneiderlin completed his first 90 minutes in over a month during Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to West Bromwich Albion after overcoming a long standing adductor injury, which he says has now cleared up.
“I think the first time I got injured was with France,” Morgan recalled. “I came off the bench and for whatever reason – because I had a good warm-up – I had a tear in my adductor, so I finished that game and after maybe I rushed it a bit too much to come back for the Aston Villa game, then after against Manchester City I felt my groin a bit before the game and then it went again, so it’s something that I needed to take care of.
“It was a problem, because I have one leg longer than the other, so I changed my insoles a year ago and probably I shouldn’t have taken them off and now I put them back and I feel better, so it’s small details on why I get injured, but the body is a strange science.
“I feel good at the moment, so it was good for me to come back from the Liverpool game 45 minutes and feel good and now to play the full game and feel absolutely fine after the game, so I’m confident that it’s all passed.”
As one of the midfielders who contributed goals at the start of the season, Schneiderlin is also challenging both himself and his teammates to help the side end a run of three league games without a goal on Tuesday.
“Everybody needs to take responsibility and to score goals – simple,” he said. “Not just one player. Of course, they have to create, they have to open up things, but us as well. We need to do more.
“It will come with confidence. Maybe the ball doesn’t come as it used to before, but it’s up to us to make the ball come. Make runs beyond, to make something happen.
“We had a good chat yesterday about it – why we don’t score? Some people say ‘Well, maybe I don’t make that run that I was making before,’ so now we just say ‘Ok, we’re going to do it again.’ Make that run. Even if it doesn’t work for 89 minutes, maybe it’s going to work in 91st minute.
“I see big teams playing, and I see big strikers or big players speaking about football – they all say ‘I do ten runs in a game. Maybe for nine the ball doesn’t come, but for the tenth I will score and I will have a good game’. So it’s football and we need to learn from the best.”