Morgan Schneiderlin has revealed how a behind-closed-doors players’ meeting helped inspire Southampton’s superb start to the Premier League season.
Victor Wanyama’s first goal for the club gave the Saints a victory a 1-0 against 10-man Swansea and moved Ronald Koeman’s men up to second in the table.
While Swansea manager Garry Monk fumed about the performance of referee Jon Moss, it was all smiles in the visitors’ dressing room after a third straight league win. It already feels a long way from the doom and gloom of the summer, when the sales of Adam Lallana, Luke Shaw, Rickie Lambert, Dejan Lovren and Calum Chambers, plus the departure of manager Mauricio Pochettino to Tottenham, left many predicting a difficult season for Southampton. France midfielder Schneiderlin had also wanted to depart St Mary’s, as Liverpool, Arsenal and Spurs were interested in him.
However, after the match Schneiderlin was upbeat. “I am happy here. I am fully focused on Southampton and there is no problem,” he said. “This group of players is closer after the summer, a lot of people were saying we would struggle this season because we lost so many players.
“But we got together as a group after the transfer window shut and we said, ‘Right lads, it’s us now, we’re going to spend this year together and we need to show everyone that is doubting us that we can do something great’.
“We’re doing that, but it’s five [league] games [played] so we need to keep our focus.”
Koeman’s men were second best for much of the opening half at the Liberty Stadium, until a moment of madness from Wilfried Bony earned the Swansea striker a second yellow card moments before the interval.
Bony had already been booked for one clumsy challenge on Maya Yoshida when his scissor-like tackle from behind on the same player left Moss with little choice but to send him off. Southampton took full advantage with Wanyama escaping Ki Sung-yueng’ attentions to poke home an 80th-minute winner.
Monk had no complaints about the red card, but risked an Football Association charge by suggesting that Moss had not been consistent in his handling of the two sides. “He was very, very poor. Extremely poor,” he said. “James Ward-Prowse did exactly the same tackle as Wilf in the 65th minute and the ref gives a foul and doesn’t give a booking.
“In terms of consistency, with the fouls going on, it blew my mind. Jose Fonte’s challenge on Wayne Routledge [was] a late tackle with his feet in the air. To me it is [a second booking for Fonte].”Reuse content