·3 February 2023
·3 February 2023
Southampton boss Nathan Jones has urged his players to use the disappointment of missing out on the Carabao Cup by kick-starting their fight for survival.
The Saints were beaten 3-1 on aggregate on aggregate in the semi-finals against Newcastle United. Next up for them is a trip to face Brentford in the Premier League.
Southampton are joint-bottom in the Premier League but they are just two points adrift of safety. They host relegation rivals next weekend.
“It was a real good effort in the cup and over the two legs we really did take a top side right to the wire,” Jones said.
“That is the real positive, now we get back to league action. We know now what we have to do.
“We have a month now of pure league action before the (FA) Cup (fifth round), but our priority is the league and we have to make sure we start getting points and getting above that line.
“Performance levels have been good, they have been improving and there is a real balance. Now we just need to get results because that is all that is lacking and is the be-all and end-all.
“Now we have to demand a bit more in terms of getting over that line being in front.”
Jones told a press conference: “We have changed (the team) in terms of getting the freshest, most physical side on the pitch that we can be in the games, now it is Saturday to Saturday so we have to go as strong as we possibly can.
“In terms of not looking after (a player), in terms of not looking at the next game or anything now – it is solely about picking the best team and picking the team to try and get a result.”
Midfielder Stuart Armstrong and defender Juan Larios are closing in on a return.
However, it remains to be seen whether Southampton’s transfer deadline-day signings Paul Onuachu and Kamaldeen Sulemana will feature this weekend as the club waits on the relevant paperwork.
“We are unsure yet, because it is all about work permits. Hopefully in the not too distant future we will see them,” Jones said.
“They are in the building, but it is just limited what we can do with them because of the work permit situation.”
Brentford are unbeaten in eight Premier League matches and have pushed on into the top half of the table, sitting above Chelsea and Liverpool.
Jones has been impressed with the “continuity” of Thomas Frank’s side as they continue to hold their own.
“They have been together as a group, know what they are doing, are very structured and very innovative,” said Jones, who left Luton for the Southampton job in November.
“There was a lot of parallels between Brentford and my previous club, there were similarities in terms of how they go about their work.
“Brentford are a really difficult side to play against, with a fantastic manager who has done really well, players who have been there a long time and then they have got good recruitment.
“It all sort of looks like it is a really well run club and that is exactly what it is.”
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