Facing Tottenham away was always going to be a tough ask for Southampton, especially coming off a prolonged period without a match. We fought admirably until the final whistle, but ultimately a lack of consistent quality on the ball was our undoing. Still, there were positives to our performance – let’s take a look.
Under pressure in the first half, Southampton struggled to string consistent, meaningful passages of play together. Our opponents collapsed well and cut off our passing lanes. We were able to intercept Tottenham quite a bit, but when we failed to do so, the likes of Christian Eriksen were able to get four shots away, including the opening goal. After a soft penalty was given to Dele Alli, the youngster buried Tottenham’s second goal, and the game seemed well out of our reach.
But Saints kept the intensity switched on in the second half, showing that our loss was not for lack of effort. As I said before Sunday’s match, Nathan Redmond would have his hands full dealing with the charging Kyle Walker. Redmond did a fine job, and there were several occasions where he was deep in our own half putting in hard tackles and clearances. He finished the game with four tackles, the second-most out of any Southampton player, but it was Oriol Romeu who led all players on the pitch with six tackles.
Romeu was my man of the match today, and I’ll tell you why. If it wasn’t for his constant presence mopping things up in front of our back line, Spurs would have terrorised our center-halves. We miss Virgil Van Dijk more than ever, and Steven Davis wasn’t exactly stellar as captain, but Romeu put in a solid shift this afternoon. Yes, his decision-making was pretty lacklustre once he won possession, but we wouldn’t have had much possession at all if he hadn’t been on the pitch!
Overall, I hate losing to Mauricio Pochettino, but our lasting tenacity against a top side was inspiring. It remains to be seen how serious Manolo Gabbiadini’s injury is, but hopefully a run of consistent games can bring the best out of Southampton, particular in the offensive third.