The Saints boss saw enough in Arsenal’s 3-3 draw to believe in the prospects of survival

The Saints boss saw enough in Arsenal’s 3-3 draw to believe in the prospects of survival

Southampton boss Ruben Selles insists he has seen enough from his side not to give up hope in their battle for survival in the Premier League, despite time running out.

Saints remain bottom and five points from safety after leaders Arsenal fought back from 3-1 up to draw at the Emirates Stadium last Friday night.

While it was a welcome point from a game Southampton should have lost, an inability to hang on to what would have been a much-needed win leaves prospects bleak with just six games left.

Selles, however, has no intention of throwing in the towel yet as they prepare to host south coast rivals Bournemouth on Thursday night.

“We showed (against Arsenal) where we are and where we want to be,” said the Saints Selles boss, who succeeded Nathan Jones in February.

“We played well there and against a great opponent.

“Again, we dropped by two points, but it was a spirit that I highlighted, that the guys are fighting and working well during the week to get the result.

“We didn’t get the three (points), but we had the feeling that we could compete against anyone and we have done that for the last couple of months.”

Selles said at the press conference: “We just have to take this energy and the way we played (against Arsenal).

“We will adjust some behaviors because the opponent up front is a different opponent than we had last Friday, but the essence is that our identity should be the same.

“We are still alive (in the battle for survival) and we are still there in the fight.

“We will be there until the last second, that’s for sure, and that’s what everyone should expect from us.”

The Saints have not won in seven league games but Selles is confident results will come.

“We had some good performances and more than enough to get at least one win in the last four or five games, but we didn’t,” he said.

“The performance is there and we have to try to transform that performance into the three points.

“It is a fact that we are here, we are fighting and we are competitive against any opponent.

“We just need to do this last part to get the three points and once we get them, hopefully tomorrow will be a very different scenario.”

Southampton will have striker Che Adams back after four games following a calf injury sustained on international duty with Scotland.

Defender Jan Bednarek continues to be evaluated as he recovers from a head injury sustained during the first half at Arsenal.

Gunners loan full-back Ainsley Maitland-Niles was ineligible to face his former club so is expected to be brought in again.

Jack Stephens impressed in his loan spell with Bournemouth, being allowed a temporary move for the rest of the season in September.

Selles hopes the 29-year-old, who will be unable to play in Thursday’s match, returns to the club to help make an impact for next season.

“I think Jack had the ability and the personality to be a Premier League player,” Selles said.

“I wasn’t involved in the decision (for a loan move) and it’s not for me to weigh that decision, all I can say is I would love to have Jack here.

He’s one of those players who can be important when they come back from loan because one of the things we need are people who can identify with Southampton.”


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