February 22, 2024

Russell Martin has revealed that consistency was a factor in their back-to-back wins at Stoke City on Tuesday evening, but playing two games in four days has taken its toll on his players, and he may make a change on Saturday.

Russell Martin spoke to The Daily Echo about his team selection versus Stoke City on Tuesday and how he needs to give playing time to players like Che Adams and Sam Edozie to keep things fresh.

“I’m being honest with you, but I also can’t tell you who the team will be. We discussed it and wanted to see how everyone recovered.

“When I spoke with you, I assumed we’d make one or two modifications. Everyone appeared to be in good spirits, and we desired some stability.

“It’s the first time we’ve been able to field the same starting XI, and it’s made such a difference.” Saturday is a different story.

“We have a lot of players who haven’t played – a three-game week at this level is extremely difficult.” So I fully expect (changes), and I can say that with confidence.”

“I believe you noticed that some of the players were out of breath tonight – they were extremely tired.” We have a fantastic team.

“Everyone wants to play, and managing that is critical.” That’s why Sekou Mara made his debut tonight. He deserves it after the manner he has trained.”

Mara’s cameo as a second-half substitute was his first since Southampton’s 1-0 loss to Ipswich Town on Tuesday, September 19.

 

Southampton boss Russell Martin opens up over Morgan Whittaker - Plymouth  Live
Russell Martin

 

“However, given Sekou’s training, I felt he was better suited to come on and replace Charly Alcaraz in the role we’re asking him to play.”

“Sekou has done it a few times in training now, and I like what I’ve seen.” He’s disappointed that he didn’t score, but we’ll need everyone – it’s a team effort.

“Sam Edozie has been in the team and then hasn’t played in the last two.” He’ll be frustrated, but it’s our responsibility to keep them all pleased – or as many of them as possible.

“It’s a good problem to have because it’s going to be a long season.” This has been a tough week, and I’m sure we’ll need everyone by the time we get to Rotherham on Saturday.”

Martin is correct; the Saints have a large roster with many experienced players who aren’t getting regular playing time, and he must strike the perfect balance.

between sustaining the momentum on the pitch, preventing players from being weary, and providing guys like Che Adams, Sam Edozie, and youngsters like Sam Amo-Ameyaw a chance to prove they are a valuable part of the club.

As he says, it’s a good problem to have, but it also requires him to strike a balance, which will be difficult.

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