Where do we go from here?
No passion, no fight, no spirit, no will to win.
Outfought in every area of the pitch. The demeanour of the Southampton players last night was not that of a group of people that was determined to turn their form around and win the game, but that of a group of people beaten before they had even started.
Something is not right. Our team spirit embodied us over the last couple of seasons, but it seems to have disappeared. Perhaps we have lost some of the dressing room leaders? I believe Dean Hammond and Billy Sharp were two of those; perhaps the manager has lost their faith.
People can talk about tactical decisions and team line-ups all day long, but without a desire to win the game they become irrelevant. We knew the Premier League would be tough, but something has gone hideously wrong.
I think we had two calls to make in the summer. Either to stick with the squad that got us promoted twice and just add to it a little bit a la Norwich, or buy a whole new top-flight-experience-heavy team a la QPR. What we did was a little bit of both. What we gained in technical ability we seem to have lost in spirit.
Am I saying we would have picked up more points with our team from last season? Well, no, there is no way of telling, but the momentum of a side used to playing together and winning may well have converted games like Fulham and Spurs into more points.
I don't want the manager to go. I 100% buy into his ethos and believe he is destined to be a top manager. But, if he has lost the dressing room we are in serious trouble. People are talking about how long it will be before the chairman loses patience; I wonder how long it will be before Nigel himself loses patience and walks to save his reputation.
The fact is, somebody has to take responsibility. The players are underperforming, and we can complain about them all we like, but we have to ask the question why?
We still have time to save this season, but play like we did last night and we will be soundly beaten by everybody.
The defence have taken a lot of stick recently, but last night the finger of blame is firmly pointed at the midfield. Sloppy passing, weak in the tackle and bullied by Mulumbu, they played the defence into trouble on so many occasions it was difficult to watch.
Whatever happens, the support last night was fantastic. People at the club will come and go, some for the worse, and some for the better, but the fans will remain constant throughout.
Keep the Faith.