Southampton manager Mark Hughes bemoaned his side’s sluggish start against Manchester City on Sunday, which saw the Saints concede three goals in less than 20 minutes before eventually losing 6-1.
A Wesley Hoedt own goal after just six minutes was a sign of things to come fro Hughes’ side, who quickly went three down after Sergio Agüero and David Silva found the net. The Saints rallied and pulled a goal back through Danny Ings’ penalty, but Sterling’s second goal on the brink of half-time killed any hope of a fightback.
Southampton started the second half brightly, but they were unable to add to their first half goal, and efforts from Sterling and Sané sealed a triumphant win for the hosts.
Speaking in the wake of the defeat, via Sky Sports, Hughes criticised his side for conceding so early in the match, and said: “That is the game gone right from the outset [when they first conceded]. Any other work you have prepared and the game plan you want to implement goes out the window.
“It is difficult when you are down. You can’t over-commit because Man City have the ability to run over the top of you and it gets even more embarrassing. The scoreline is not a result we take any pride in, but the fact we were trying to create chances when the game was gone shows the character was good.”
Hughes continued: “The disappointment for us is that if we were a little bit resolute, and better defensively collectively, not just the guys at the back, I thought we caused them problems going forwards. It could have made the score-line a little more palatable, we were never going to win after the start we gave them.”
The Saints have now gone seven Premier League matches without a win, and have slipped to 16th place in the table – just two points away from the relegation zone. Hughes’ men face Watford at home next weekend, and will be under a great deal of pressure to deliver a positive result to St. Mary’s crowd desperate to see their side finally kickstart their season.