Oriol Romeu lamented shortcomings at both ends of the pitch as Southampton fell to a 2-0 defeat at Arsenal in the Premier League.
Saints returned to competitive action after a 15-day break, but were caught cold by the Gunners, who scored both goals inside the opening 17 minutes at the Emirates Stadium.
The visitors improved after the interval and had ten attempts at goal in the game, but Romeu admitted they did not get close enough to their hosts in the first half and were not clinical enough in the second.
“It was tough, especially in the first half,” he reflected. “We were not getting near enough to their players, who were playing quick football between the lines with one or two touches.
“We were trying to react, but we were not close enough to them.
“In the second half, we tried to go higher. We put four at the back and more players up front so we could get closer to them and make sure their midfielders were not playing those balls between the lines.
“That helped us – we had more chances in their half and put more pressure on them. That reaction was good, but probably not enough.
“Against these teams, if you want to get something you need to be clinical and score your chances.
“At home, when we beat them last time, we had four chances and scored three goals. Today, we had four or five but didn’t score any.
“That’s very important. If you don’t get that right, there is not much chance of getting something out of the game.”