Martin Southampton player’s reaction to being subbed not disrespect…
SAINTS manager Russell Martin moved to reassure his players he does not mind if they show their “frustration” on the pitch over his decisions.
The boss was referring to player responses to being substituted in the eventual 1-0 victory over Millwall on Saturday.
Saints went unbeaten in seven Championship matches and have now taken 17 points from the last 21 available thanks to Ryan Fraser’s late winner.
Winger Kamaldeen Sulemana was visibly annoyed as he made way for the Scot after 77 minutes with the scores still level at 0-0.
Martin, who did not specifically name the player involved, insisted the 21 year old’s reaction does not amount to “disrespect” and credits the enthusiasm.
He said: “There is real competition now and it’s really healthy, they trust each other. There were guys coming off the pitch at Millwall who were annoyed to be coming off.
“I don’t mind that. We spoke before and it’s a squad game but if you’re annoyed and you show it when you come off, I’m not bothered by that.
“They are human beings, they want to play football and I don’t see that as disrespectful or any of that nonsense. I see it as they want to stay on the pitch, as they should do.
“As long as you then celebrate with the guys when you have a moment like at Millwall, which they all did, then there is nothing wrong with that.”
Kamaldeen Sulemana vs Millwall:
81% Pass accuracy
7/7 Successful dribbles
1 Shot on target
1 Key pass
10/13 Ground duels won
2 Was fouled
— Just Saints (@JustSaints_) November 5, 2023
James Bree (knocked), Will Smallbone and Stuart Armstrong were the other players to make way during the fixture at the Den.
Adam Armstrong remained on the pitch and supplied the assist for Fraser’s winner – his third assist of the campaign and a Championship-leading 11th goal involvement.
“I wanted to win the game so when I brought Che (Adams) on, another striker, I wanted to leave my goalscorers on the pitch,” Martin explained.
“When the game is camped in their final third in the final moments, Adam gives you moments like not many others do.
“He did that for the goal. He took the turn open and squared it when he maybe could have shot, and he made it happen when it fell to him again.
“That is down to his quality and awareness. When you’re in need of a goal, I didn’t think it would be the right decision to bring him off.”