Southampton manager Russell Martin says that their defeat to League Two side Gillingham in the EFL Cup last night is the “most disappointed” he has been since he left Swansea for the Saints in the summer, in quotes provided by The BBC.
The Saints exit the competition in the first-round after goals from Ashley Nadesan and a double from Robbie McKenzie ensured Neil Harris’ side advanced to the second round, despite a late consolation goal from Argentine midfielder Carlos Alcaraz.
Despite this, the 37-year-old Scot was let down by the performance off his side.
What’s Been Said?
Speaking to BBC Radio Solent after the game, Martin commented:
“It is the most disappointed I’ve been in my six weeks of being here,”
“We had too many players who weren’t brave enough or didn’t want to play the way that we wanted and we paid for it.”
The Saints were semi-finalists in this competition last season before their relegation from the Premier League after 11 years in the top-flight. You also have to go as far back as the 2007-08 season when Southampton were last in the Championship when they were knocked out of the competition this early, in which they exited the first round at the expense of Peterborough United.
“We have nine players on the pitch who played in the Premier League and I presume they still deem themselves to be Premier League level players – they have to be better than that.”
“I was hoping to be pleasantly surprised by some players tonight but I haven’t been.”
“But I am responsible for that and I picked the team – Gillingham deserved to win.”
For Southampton fans, Russell Martin came out in his post-match interview and was brutally honest. There are clearly some players still at the club who do not want to be there due to interest from clubs in the Premier League. His possession-based style is also a style of play that takes time to implement, as seen at Swansea last season, and you’d think that Southampton will invest money from player sales that they do sell to try and fit the style of play that Martin wants to play. However, to lose in the manner that they did against Gillingham will naturally bring concern amongst supporters.