The reasons behind Southampton’s relegation after 11 years

The reasons behind Southamptons relegation after 11 years

Southampton’s Premier League status was ended by a 2-0 loss to Fulham on Saturday, after 11 seasons in the top flight.

The home side were outplayed by goals from Carlos Vinicius and Aleksandar Mitrovic in the second half.

The Saints have had a turbulent season, with three different managers unable to inspire a talented but erratic squad.

We examine the factors that led to their downfall.

Unavoidable decline For clubs like Southampton, staying in the Premier League is a constant challenge that requires few mistakes.

Before this season, the club had finished in the bottom six in four of their last five seasons — and that was with Ralph Hasenhuttl at the helm for most of them.

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The Saints also achieved four top-half finishes during their Premier League spell, so their relegation should be a warning to teams such as Brighton and Brentford that no one is safe outside of the top clubs. Southampton were known for their high-pressing style under Hasenhuttl, winning the ball back in their own attacking third more often than all but three teams in the previous two seasons.

That ranking dropped from fourth to 16th this season — and Nathan Jones, who took over from Hasenhuttl, did not help matters by trying to make the team more adaptable but only succeeding in making them lose their identity.

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Jones experimented with different formations and tactics during a spell that saw Southampton lose seven of eight league games and slide into trouble. Ruben Selles, who replaced him, could not turn things around. Another factor that may have contributed to Southampton’s tactical confusion was their recruitment strategy, which saw them sign several young players with potential but little experience last summer.

That could also be a silver lining, however, as they head into the Championship with a squad full of players who could either attract interest from Premier League clubs or help them bounce back immediately.

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Armel Bella-Kotchap, Romeo Lavia and Carlos Alcaraz are some of the names that could generate revenue, while James Ward-Prowse, their star player, is likely to fetch a good price.

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