Manchester City vs Southampton: Mark Hughes demands more from his goal-shy attackers

The Saints may have tightened up at the back in recent weeks, but following successive 0-0 draws they have now not scored in the Premier League for five matches

Southampton 2018/19 Premier League profile

Southampton boss Mark Hughes has challenged his forwards to do their job and deliver goals again as he prepares to give Manchester City something to worry about on Sunday.

The Saints may have tightened up at the back in recent weeks, but following successive 0-0 draws they have now not scored in the Premier League for five matches.

Hughes believes an adjustment to decision making at crucial moments is key as Southampton look to up their conversion rate at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday, when chances are likely to be few and far between.

"Clearly there comes a point where you have to demand from your front guys, goals is what sustain attackers. The reality is we have not scored enough from key personnel who need to do their job for us," the Southampton manager said.

"We have got to find a way to either improve the quality of support, or the guys have to step up and take half-chances, create things themselves. It is a combination of both really."

Hughes hopes the extra work on the Saints attacking focus will produce dividends, just as it did when aiming to improve the goals against column.

"We are at a point where we have to put pressure on them, and we have done this week - we can't be loose in our work," Hughes said at a press conference.

"If you are loose and not quite taking clear-cut chances in training then clearly you are not going to do that come match time.

"So we are being a bit harder in training, so they get that understanding that we need a little bit more quality and a little bit more care in terms of our finishing.

"We put pressure on the back four and midfield in terms of their defensive work, and we had the right response, we have been better.

"If we are going to ask questions of the defensive guys, then we are going to ask questions of the guys at the top end as well."

Hughes added: "On occasion we have been a bit loose in games and accepted it with the view there will be another chance along in a minute.

Southampton have only won once this season in the Premier League

"Well, that might not be the case, certainly at the weekend, so if we get a chance we have got to take it."

Champions Manchester City have kept clean sheets in their last six and are looking to maintain the pace at the top of the table.

Despite the ominous form of his former club, Hughes believes Southampton must head north with a positive mindset.

"They get into winning positions very quickly, and they will ask questions," he said.

"But you can't get disheartened and need to be patient, to make sure we have an option going forward, because at some point you have to be able to release the pressure you are under."

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