A poll last week found that 78 per cent of Southampton fans still support manager Nigel Adkins despite the 4-1 defeat at West Ham eight days ago that deposited the team in the bottom three of the Premier League and raised doubts about his job security.
Adkins, though, claims not to have felt under pressure. "I don't know where the negativity came from and I didn't like it at all as I'm a very positive person," he said. "Before we even kicked a ball this season I was favourite for the sack, but you have to meet it head on. I wake up every morning, pull the curtains back and say, 'Morning world, it's good to be alive and I can't wait to get to work today'. Many people would love to have our jobs so we embrace the challenges that come our way and make the most of it."
And with 500 people facing unemployment after Ford's decision to close their local factory, he called for perspective: "I think it is massively important to give those supporters a lift this weekend. A lot of people have just lost their livelihood, they have families to feed, mortgages and bills to pay. The city has probably been a bit down for a few years with the club being out of the Premier League, but we have given everybody a big lift by getting promoted and have to keep that feelgood factor."
Yet even Adkins cannot feel positive about a defence that has leaked 24 goals, the worst total after eight games in Premier League history, and the visit of Tottenham Hotspur today conjures up visions of Gareth Bale and company filling their boots on the Welshman's return to his first club. Spurs, though, are wary. "They are conceding a lot of goals but they create chances and get goals too," Clint Dempsey said. "It is always difficult on the road in the Premier League, but we've got to bounce back from the loss to Chelsea."
Southampton Gazzaniga; Clyne, Fonte, Yoshida, Fox; Puncheon, Schneiderlin, S Davis, Lallana; Rodriguez; Lambert.
Tottenham Friedel; Walker, Gallas, Caulker, Vertonghen; Dembélé, Sandro; Lennon, Dempsey, Bale; Defoe.
Southampton v Tottenham Hotspur, kick-off 3pm