From the sound of Nigel Adkins’ pre-match press conference on the visit of Aston Villa, it sounds like he knows the Villa tactics pretty well, since he too is a practitioner of the midfield diamond formation.
“We were in on Sunday morning and we de-briefed the game then drawn a line underneath Arsenal (Saints were hammered 6-1 in their last game) and we’ve trained very well this week in preparation for Aston Villa. We said that we needed a good week’s work, so we’ve had that with good application from the players with a focus on what we want to do and the way we want to play.
We’ve got a great opportunity now at the weekend against Aston Villa who have got a new manager in Paul Lambert. He has brought a new enthusiasm to the football club. He’s done ever so well, similar to ourselves in earning back-to-back promotions at Norwich, and now he’s at a new club where he plays a diamond formation and as everyone knows I like to play that as well so we’re well versed in that.
We know they’re going to come here and be full of high energy, but we’re at home and we’ve got to make sure that we pick up the points and obviously have a positivity about ourselves. We want to play. All the successful teams play out from the back with a high tempo, control the game and give ourselves the opportunity to score goals. Modern full-backs get forward, overload the middle of the park and get on the football to create opportunities.
We’ve been working very hard as a team to nullify the opposition so that we can get the football and we can control the game as much as possible, hence the desire to have possession which we talk about, but it has to be effective which is important.”
Also the former Villa favourite Steven Davis will be up against his old club. Discarded by Martin O’Neil for being a bit lightweight in midfield, Davis has done pretty well since, winning trophies and playing in Europe for Rangers and also being tidy enough in midfield for Northern Ireland to inflict a defeat on England.
“I was 16 when I joined them [Vill] and had some good times there, but that’s all in the past. There’s no room for sentiment in football. I’m a Southampton man now and we need to beat Villa to get our season up and running. It’s a big game for us and I would just love to get on the scores sheet again, this time for Southampton.”