Have Southampton Progressed Or Regressed Under Claude Puel?

Have Southampton Progressed Or Regressed Under Claude Puel?
May 18, 2017

Featured Southampton

As the curtain rolls down on yet another season as a Southampton fan, we find ourselves in the middle of yet another storm of rumours that leave next season’s side in the balance. Though there has been one rumour that we have fashioned all by ourselves. The future of Claude Puel.

Coming to the end of one of the most competitive seasons ever in the Premier League as far as the top 6 are concerned, the Saints find themselves wit the ability to still finish as high as eighth. Along with the runs in the EFL Cup and first European adventure that both deserve a mention. From the outside looking in, Southampton fans must look crazy. But I’m here to discuss the problems that could certainly have us worried.

Firstly, it’s worth saying that Puel has had a season riddled with injuries. With the likes of Virgil Van Dijk, top scorer Charlie Austin, and not to forget team captain Jose Fonte jumping ship mid-season to join league rivals, West Ham. The year has certainly not been straight forward. We get that. What is most frustrating for me personally is the style of football that I have watched all year. At Nice, Puel had his side playing some of the most attractive football in Europe. Goals galore and the feeling that they could take the game to anyone.

This season, we have seen glimpses of this style. Most notably the away win over Watford, but simply not enough. As a huge fan of possession based football, it pains me to say that we almost seem to be keeping the ball for the sake of the other team not being allowed to have it. Not in order to score. Which could be a good reason for the poor goal scoring rate this season. The build-up is slow, and often lifeless. Often seeing us playing dangerous balls into Redmond and co. in the cul-de-sac, before simply playing the ball back to build up play – but this time 10 yards further up the pitch.

Wednesday’s game against United was yet another perfect example of the team is so close, yet so far from the top 6 team of last year. But being ineffective in front of goal has once again proved to be one of the team’s greatest woes. Whilst the regular chopping and changing of the team this season has undoubtedly caused a lack of consistency in the team, underlined by the boos that rang around St. Mary’s when an impressive James Ward-Prowse was replaced for Sofiane Boufal.

Plus now the news that has plagued the media over recent weeks, that Puel has reportedly been in the middle of training ground bust-ups, has only fuelled the fire into speculation that he will be replaced by Hull boss Marco Silva. And whilst I’m a fan of Silva, I can’t say I think that a quick chop and change after just a year in, with a top 10 finish and the added bonus of a cup final under our belts, is really the way to go. We’re a club that has been re-built over time. I’m a firm believer that time should be rewarded to those that deserve it. Does he deserve it? I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. For now.

It’s also worth saying that Puel should not shoulder all of the blame for the poor results. The attempt for good football has been there, but too many times have we seen sub-par performances from players that are more than capable of a points tally far higher than it’s current look.

But whilst having failed to score in 4 straight home games, and the pressure increasing by the day on Puel, this summer could potentially be one of the most attention-grabbing yet. And with Chairman Ralph Krueger revealing that the club “could turn down a bid of £60 million” for Van Dijk earlier this week, it remains to be seen whether Puel will have the same group to build on in pre-season. And for the sake of next season and the club, lets hope he does.

 

  1. Ben Ellis more like JK Rowling

  2. Joseph Rimmer says:

    this guy has some potential but the fact is he really isn’t good enough to be writing posts like this, like he isn’t even getting over 1k views on the posts, that is utterly embarrassing.

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