José Fonte says it’s time to stand up and be counted after Southampton’s European dream came to an early end.
Saints fell to a 1-0 defeat to FC Midtjylland in Denmark to go out of the UEFA Europa League at the play-off stage.
And, while speaking of his disappointment, the captain insisted that it is important to move on quickly.
“The last thing I wanted to do right now was to be speaking about this disappointing result,” Fonte told youtube.com/southamptonfc.
“I feel sorry for the fans, but no-one is more disappointed than us. We worked hard last season to be in the Europa League and to be playing European football, but it didn’t happen.
“We have only ourselves to blame. I thought that we had more quality than them – and on a couple of different nights we could have easily beaten them, but the fact is that we didn’t so we can only blame ourselves for that.”
Saints return to league action on Sunday, when Norwich City come to St Mary’s, and Fonte says he and his teammates must not allow their to be a hangover from their European exit – adding that the backing of the fans will be key.
“We need to pick ourselves up,” he affirmed. “Obviously it’s hard, with this disappointment, to move on, but there’s no alternative.
“Starting from tomorrow, when we go back to the training ground, it’s time to focus completely on getting the three points against Norwich.
“I just want to ask the supporters to be behind us like they always are because we need them more than ever.
“We’re lacking a little bit of confidence so we need a little bit of a boost on Sunday from the St Mary’s crowd to make it a fortress like it was last year.
“We need their support, their understanding and their patience because we’re working hard to gel. It’s not easy – we have a lot of new players and we’ve had a lot of changes – but we are working hard at the training ground to put it right. Only time will help us.
“Sunday is a massive game and it’s one that we need to take the three points from. We will give our best to do that.
“What we have to do is to stand up, show our face and be a man. We need to understand that this is life – we’re disappointed, yes, but the world doesn’t end tomorrow. On Sunday there is another game and if we don’t win it then it’s going to be even more difficult.
“We just have to wake up tomorrow, go to work and show up Sunday fully-prepared to win the game.”