Southampton’s manager criticizes Stoke City’s victory as “aggressive”

Saints manager Russell Martin hailed his club’s 1-0 victory over Stoke City as a “real team effort” and their first clean sheet of the year.

Russell Martin makes bold Southampton claim about season so far following  Stoke City victory - HampshireLive

Saints won back-to-back Championship games at Bet365 Stadium thanks to Stuart Armstrong’s first-half free kick.

It puts an end to the string of four straight losses that came before the turnaround and offers supporters newfound hope in the new manager Martin.

Saints had the opportunity to end the game in Stoke, but they also rode their luck defensively as Alex Neil’s team failed to capitalize on pressure.

“I thought we were great, really good to follow up on the effort we put in on Saturday against another really good team,” Martin said after the game, according to the Daily Echo.

“The boys have my utmost respect and gratitude. We did a great job of constructing in the first half, but the last third kept crumbling.

“During changeover, we performed admirably. Flynn was horrifying today, and he had been the same Flynn in the previous two games. He has been excellent.

Everyone was aggressively battling for each other, but we also managed to remove the fight when we needed to with amazing moments of calmness.

“We talked about that before the game, and they were brave to do that in the middle of the turmoil.

“We should have (killed the game),” he continued, “because we had some incredible chances to do so, including Stu’s header, Charly’s through-ball, Kamaldeen Sulemana’s opportunity, and Sekou Mara’s opportunity a little later on. “I think when the team has had some more positive results and is flowing a bit more we kill the game off. We limited Stoke to very little, which was good.

Martin made light of Armstrong’s magnificent free-kick by saying, “You haven’t had a chance to see it! For the past ten years, (James) Ward-Prowse has taken everything. He is a master at them.

It was nice to see it go in and it’s a brilliant goal; it deserves to win the game. He and Charly practice a lot.

“Stu has been fantastic the last two games, stepping up big time when we needed him to. I hope he realizes how much he will cherish playing for this group.

It’s about trying to get him back to the Stuey Armstrong I played with years ago. He’s another player who has had a difficult year.

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