Southampton manager Nigel Adkins relaxed despite sack speculation

 

Southampton manager Nigel Adkins insists he has no need to look over his shoulder despite reports suggesting his job could be in jeopardy.

Saints have lost their four first four matches back in the Premier League, leading to talk that chairman Nicola Cortese is getting an itchy trigger finger.

Former Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez and - rather surprisingly - former Southampton and Portsmouth boss Harry Redknapp have been mentioned as potential candidates to replace Adkins.

However Adkins, who helped the club to back-to-back promotions from League One, insists such talk does not affect him and believes he will be at St Mary's for the foreseeable future.

"It doesn't affect me," he said. "I don't read the newspapers. I've got a great working relationship with the chairman here at Southampton and we share a common goal.

"We've had a great couple of seasons and there is stability here at Southampton so we don't even think about things like that.

"I have got my own desire to keep winning games of football because we have that winning mentality here at Southampton. There is a desire that we keep being strong and improving.

"I think if you're looking over your shoulder thinking 'Well, if I don't win this one' your mind is going to be affected in different ways so I don't even think about that.

"At some stage in the future, like in every job, there will be a parting of ways a long way down the line.

"All we are doing [right now] is concentrating on what we're doing. There is stability at Southampton, we're bringing the youth players through the system.

"We have just played Man United and Arsenal and they would have had difficult spells, but they kept stability and that is why they have been successful."

Adkins, whose side face Aston Villa this weekend, insists that the bond of trust with Cortese is so strong that he has not even spoken to him about the reports about his future.

"We don't need to talk about it," he said. "We have a really good dialogue, contrary to what many people believe.

"We have an excellent working relationship and we share the same common goal; we want Southampton Football Club to do well.

"We know there needs to be stability, we know there needs to be support. We drive each other on. There is nothing wrong with that."

Rather than fretting about his future, Adkins' message was one of positivity heading into Saturday's clash with Villa.

Saints have had a tough run of opening games, facing both Manchester sides before last weekend's 6-1 hiding at Arsenal.

A home defeat to Wigan was perhaps more concerning, but Adkins believes the side are well placed to get their first points on board when Paul Lambert's side come to town on Saturday.

"We have got to embrace the challenge of being in the Barclays Premier League," he said.

"This is where the best are and we have to go outside that comfort zone and feel that pain if you want to be the best.

"It has been a great week's training. There is a steely resolve about the players, there is a hunger.

"We have learned some good lessons already and there is a lot of belief about we've done."

PA

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