Jones: We need to be better

By SFC Media time Sat 31 Dec Fulham vs Saints
Photo by Matt Watson | Nathan Jones

Southampton boss Nathan Jones admitted his Southampton side needed to be better as they fell to a New Year’s Eve defeat to Fulham.

Despite a sublime free-kick from James Ward-Prowse at Craven Cottage, Southampton succumbed to another loss on the road as they remain bottom of the Premier League table.

“It’s really difficult [to take],” admitted the boss. “I thought both halves we were very organised in terms of everything we did. We limited them to very little and then we had real good situations.

“To be fair we should have gone in ahead first half, but we didn’t and in fact we went in behind because we switched off from a set play. We have to be better than that. We have to try and build performances, build results, build it.

“Today we didn’t give ourselves a chance because we conceded from two set plays and that’s the frustrating thing because between both boxes [there's] not a problem.

“I thought we had enough situations and enough opportunities to have got something from the game, with a little bit more discipline and with a little bit more getting the basics right we could have won the game.

“The level of performance is there. The improvement in terms of our shape and our discipline and what we do is there, it’s just you can’t switch off. That’s the discipline.

“It’s a young side. There’s a lot of young players in there that are learning. The trouble is, they’ve got to learn on the job and the job is a tough one in the Premier League and that’s the one we’ve got to do.

“We’ll look at that because there’s certain things we need, certain things we have to do better.”

Jones did insist there were positive to take from Southampton’s trip to the capital, with improvements certainly made since their Boxing Day defeat to Brighton.

“Today we were much, much better in terms of our organisation, our press, how we worked, how we went about everything, but we just need to be better. If you don’t defend set plays well then you’re not going to be able to build wins.

“Today we half gave ourselves a chance but in two moments we went to sleep and that’s the frustrating thing.”

The boss also had praise for captain Ward-Prowse, whose outstanding free-kick gave Saints hope in their closing match of 2022.

“He’s quality in terms of delivery, in terms of everything we do. Again, the performance was there today. There was so much to be positive about, but it doesn’t feel like that because of the result and the manner of the result as well.

“If we got a point here today, we would have been much, much improved. It would’ve been a positive but to concede in the manner that we did, the corner in the manner and the goal. It’s really, really frustrating.”

One final positive to take was the return of Roméo Lavia, who hasn’t featured since Southampton’s trip to Anfield shortly before the mid-season break.

“We need all we can get. We need all we can do, all the players we can get back now. Roméo is real quality. We’ve got to be careful with him, we don’t want to push him too early.”

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