Southampton and Leicester’s Performance Unjustly Reflected by Result, Claims Russell Martin

    Southampton manager Russell Martin insists Leicester should be criticized in the same way as his side despite their 4-1 win at St Mary’s.

    Saints conceded in the 21st second after a powerful finish from Jamie Vardy, before Casey McAteer, Wilfred Ndidi and Stephie Mavididi also scored as the Foxes ran riot.

    But Martin, who later saw Sam Edozie pull one back and Kamaldeen Sulemana sent off, believes the result does not reflect the performances of both teams.

    He said: “It’s a completely different feeling to Sunderland (the 5-0 defeat). I’m proud of the players, people will criticize me for saying this, but they did what we asked of them.

    “I got a lot out of it and it was a much better performance than Sunderland.”

    “If anyone expected that during such big changes there would be no pain, then they are very naive.

    “Leicester lost the ball the same way we did, but they got to the right end of the line so Enzo (Maresca) won’t be criticized.

    “I asked the players to go toe-to-toe with a really good team and I thought it was a really good game.

    “We made life difficult for ourselves by conceding two early goals. They were really clinical and we weren’t. They took their chance, but we didn’t.

    “People can read into this all they want, but if we take a chance, the result will be completely different.

    “It was a tough atmosphere and I understand that because we were 2-0 down in 20 minutes.

    “They must do everything they can to prevent this from happening. But the only way to get rid of them is to win matches and create positive emotions in everyone.

    “On Tuesday, both fans and players will have a choice on how to approach this issue. Fans have a choice: show up to support or cause concern.

    “They’ve been great since I’ve been here and I’d be annoyed if we started the way we lost.”

    Vardy’s opening goal, his first in the Championship this season after a fine save from Mavididi, was quickly followed by McAteer controlling the ball and putting the ball into play after Saints had given the ball away in midfield.

    Edozie scored his second goal of the campaign but Ndidi’s goal restored the Foxes to a two-goal lead going into the break, with Mavididi getting the goal his performance deserved in the 67th minute.

    Leicester manager Enzo Maresca said: “I’m very happy. Winning the game is always important, it’s never easy, but the performance with and without the ball was very good.

    “Sometimes, like tonight, we were more cautious and clearer in our decision-making.

    “We’ve been good in the final third since day one but we missed the right choices and we’re not being patient, but it worked better today.

    “We still need to improve and add new solutions. I don’t like basketball games. We know they want to play the same way we do – keep the ball and try to win. So we knew we couldn’t control the game for 90 minutes.

    “The way we handled the ball, how aggressive we were, was key.

    “Stephie is an important player for us, but today all the players played well.”

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