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Pellegrino pleads for goals

13 August 2017 National Sport

Last Updated: 13/08/17 2:10pm

Mauricio Pellegrino is unconcerned despite his Saints firing blanks at St Mary's

Mauricio Pellegrino is unconcerned despite his Saints firing blanks at St Mary’s

Mauricio Pellegrino has urged his Southampton players to find their scoring boots and end their goal drought to kick-start their Premier League campaign.

Saints dominated for large spells against visiting Swansea in their Premier League home opener on Saturday but failed to break the deadlock

Southampton have now gone 545 minutes without a goal at St Mary’s, dating back to the 3-1 win over Crystal Palace on April 5.

Southampton were held by Swansea at St Mary’s

New boss Pellegrino believes finishing is based more on instinct than training ground practice – but still insisted the Saints would solve their goal-scoring woes.

“That’s football; we have to keep going, and if we do, we’ll definitely improve in that area,” said Pellegrino, of his side’s troubles in front of goal.

“We played the way we felt we had to play: we controlled the game, we controlled the opponent, especially in the second half.

“We didn’t concede any counter-attacks. I think we produced a good performance, but in football you have to put the ball in the net. And we have to keep going.”

Pellegrino was pleased with the creativity his side showed in the goalless draw

Manolo Gabbiadini, Dusan Tadic and James Ward-Prowse all spurned gilt-edged chances to hand Southampton victory on the season’s opening day.

Claude Puel paid with his job in the summer for Southampton’s inability to turn pressure into goals and therefore points last season.

Pellegrino appreciates the similarities between Saturday’s shortcomings and Saints’ problems last term, but still believes his squad will reverse that trend.

Asked if he could pinpoint similar concerns to the previous campaign, Pellegrino replied: “Yes. As a manager you can look and work in the way how to create chances, how to play in wide areas, in the corridor in front and behind defenders.

“But it’s really difficult to work. You can do finishing every day for example but it doesn’t have too much relation to what happens in the game.”

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