Southampton's lack of a quality striking replacement could prove costly in the race for a European place this season.
The Saints were held to a 0-0 draw at St. Mary's last night by ten man West Ham United after losing their last home match 1-0 at the hands of Swansea.
In their previous two matches at home the Saints have had plenty of chances to take all the points from both, but their lack of a finishing touch could cost them more than that in the long run.
Off the boil
In recent games the Saints have not looked as convincing as they did when conquering Manchester United and Arsenal or when holding league leaders Chelsea.
That will bring cause for concern to their Dutch manager who will be hoping an 11 day break before their next game will have arrived at just the right time.
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The main problem currently for Southampton manager Ronald Koeman is that he has nobody to replace striker Graziano Pelle.
That has seen the Italian international feature in all bar one of the Saints' matches this season, and even that was enforced through suspension rather than choice.
With no quality back up to his main striker, it could be the only mistake Ronald Koeman has made as Saints boss that costs his side dearly in the run-in.
Could prove costly
Without the quality striker in reserve that all of their rivals have, the Saints could falter in the coming weeks, especially if Pelle does not re-find his early season form.
With Liverpool and Chelsea as upcoming opponents in the new few weeks, it is crunch time for this Southampton side.
If they can put together another run of form, especially with Toby Alderweireld and Morgan Schneiderlin returning from injury, they will definitely be in the hunt for a European place.
However if they continue to struggle finding the back of the net, any slip-up is certain to be capitalised upon by the chasing pack and one defeat could prove costly.
The one thing Koeman will bring to the team though is confidence and belief that they can make the Champions League.
Without his side believing they can make it, they probably would not have made it this far into the season in such good form.
There is no doubting the current Southampton squad has the quality to do it, but whether they can see it through to the end could well come down to self-belief, something they have not been lacking in so far this season.
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