Southampton need to fight back after recent defeats

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Southampton can use their recent run of defeats and the lack of some of their star players as a catalyst for an upturn in fortunes.

The Saints are without Morgan Schneiderlin, Victor Wanyama and Dusan Tadic for the visit of Everton, with Graziano Pelle and Steven Davis also doubtful.

However, Ronald Koeman can use that to take the pressure of his players and allow them the freedom to play the game their own way.

No pressure

The added pressure that had built around the side during the recent superb run saw them become favourites in every match.

That led to a string of five defeats in a row, culminating in the midweek loss to Sheffield United in the Capital One Cup.

Now Koeman can remove that pressure by entering the match as underdogs, allowing his team to express themselves fully.

Youngsters involved

With the midfield duo of Schneiderlin and Wanyama suspended this weekend, Koeman looks set to go with a midfield of Toby Alderweireld and Harrison Reed.

James Ward-Prowse looks set to deputise in Dusan Tadic's absence and if Shane Long reverts to a wide role, there is even the possibility that young Ryan Seager might be involved in the Saints squad for the first time.

That youthful enthusiasm will be surrounded by experience and it might give the Saints an edge they have been lacking in recent fixtures.

Leaders needed

This weekend will be a big test of character for Koeman's side and he will certainly find out who his most dependable players are.

Shane Long and James Ward-Prowse came away from the midweek defeat with some pride and Jose Fonte has apologised for the performance in the media, but doing something about it on the pitch is where it matters most.

After the recent run of poor form, the Southampton manager faces a tough task in rallying his troops, but if his team comes out fighting when all the odds are against them, they might just be able to spring a surprise against Roberto Martinez's outfit.

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