Southampton fans showed their maturity during Monday night’s game at home to Everton, by keeping their reservations about newly-appointed Mauricio Pochettino to an absolute minimum.
It would have been very easy for the St. Mary’s faithful to vent their anger during the match, given their love and appreciation for former boss Nigel Adkins, and the fantastic job that he did at the club.
Back-to-back promotions to take the Saints into the Premier League, and steering the side to 15th position after 22 games is an achievement that many would have thought impossible when he took over two-and-a-half-years ago. Compare this to the way in which Chelsea fans have behaved since Rafael Benitez took charge as interim boss, and they would be right to feel a little embarrassed with themselves.
Since Benitez was appointed, the Blues fans have actively expressed their disliking for him and Roman Abramovich’s decision to axe his predecessor, Roberto Di Matteo. The contrast of the fans’ reactions can be shown in the results of the two sides, as Chelsea were without a win in Rafa’s first three games in charge and only scored a solitary goal. Whilst on Monday night, Southampton flew out of the blocks and, for the first half especially, dominated the game in all areas of the park. Rickie Lambert missed a couple of good opportunities in the match that could well have seen his side take all three points against a very good Everton side, that has lost just three league games all season.
Undoubtedly, Saints fans will be bitterly disappointed at the loss of Adkins, and more so that he has been replaced with a relative unknown who doesn’t even speak English. However the fact that they are willing to put those grievances aside for the good of the team, shows a level-headedness that is clearly lacking at Stamford Bridge, where the fans perhaps have become a little spoiled over the course of the Abramovich era.
This is however, Pochettino’s first of many games to come before the end of the season, and patience amongst the Saints supporters will run out quickly if results and performances don’t come. However, at least they can say he was given a fair crack at the whip, as it’s no coincidence that Sunday’s victory over Arsenal, was just the second league game that Chelsea have won in front of their aggravated fans since former Liverpool boss Benitez took over.
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