MANAGERS, IT seems sometimes, cannot win. Barely a fortnight after Coventry's Gordon Strachan was rebuked for his over-exuberant touchline manners, Dave Jones found himself in the dock for not showing some emotion. The 7-1 defeat at Liverpool on their last Premiership outing and the FA Cup third-round defeat by Fulham were apparently his fault for not ranting and raving enough in the dug-out.
"People don't know me," Jones, a diehard Evertonian, said after Saturday's satisfying return to winning ways. "I'm not an emotional person but I kick every ball and it does hurt me. I can go back to my Stockport days as a manager and there was a result against Shrewsbury that I still haven't got out of my system yet, so Liverpool will take a lot longer than that."
Yet for all the talk, the only defence any manager will ever be able to rely on is results and the Southampton players responded to their manager's plight in the best possible way against a curiously out of sorts Leeds team. "I think they've shown what we're all about today," Jones said of his players. "That's three home league games on the trot that we've won, and today you've seen us at our best."
All of which does not augur well for Matt Le Tissier. Injured and out of favour again until Saturday, he limped off after less than 10 minutes of the match with a calf strain, to be replaced by Stuart Ripley. Here he played through the middle, and his bustling style epitomised all that was good about Southampton's performance.
It was hard to fault the commitment of any of their players, and in Patrick Colleter they have acquired a good attacking left-back whose accomplished style would add to the overall confidence of any team. The Moroccan Hassan Kachloul scored again and caught the eye: "He keeps getting better," Jones said, "but against Liverpool he was awful. He was playing against players he said he idolised and for 90 minutes it looked like he was running round trying to get their autographs."
As for Leeds, David O'Leary probably had it right in saying he would give them all another chance after their most disappointing display since he became manager. They saw a lot of the ball and in Harry Kewell and Lee Bowyer at least two players who never stopped trying to make things happen. But up front the 18-year-old Alan Smith looked distinctly jaded after bursting on to the scene in recent weeks and rarely contributed to the cause.
So far life has been good to O'Leary since he took over from George Graham, but it might be that his real work is just about to begin.
Goals: Kachloul (31) 1-0; Oakley (62) 2-0; Ostenstad (86) 3-0.
Southampton (4-4-2): Jones; Hiley, Lundekvam, Dodd, Colleter; Oakley, Hughes, Le Tissier (Ripley, 10; Bridge, 83), Kachloul; Beattie, Ostenstad. Substitutes not used: Howells, Monk, Stensgaard (gk).
Leeds United (4-4-2): Martyn; Woodgate, Radebe, Wetherall, Harte; Haaland, Bowyer, Hopkin, Kewell; Smith, Hasselbaink. Substitutes not used: Ribeiro, Wijnhard, Halle, Knarvik, Robinson (gk).
Referee: S Dunn (Bristol).
Bookings: Southampton: Lundekvam, Hughes, Dodd. Leeds: Haaland, Bowyer, Smith, Woodgate.
Man of the match: Kachloul.
Attendance: 15,236.Reuse content