Do Southampton FC fans have the patience for the season ahead?

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New Southampton FC Manager Claude Puel

Football, unlike cricket, has never been a game for the patient. Football in the Premier League, is particularly unforgiving.

From what I’ve seen so far of the new look Southampton FC side so far under Claude Puel, there is much to be excited about – but that comes with a caveat.

Once again, we enter a new season off of the back of a summer spent selling some key players who we knew would leave, and lost a manager who played with fire and got burnt when his wage demands weren’t met. We can complain about the ins and outs, but I prefer to dwell on the positives.

Pierre-Emile Højbjerg and Nathan Redmond are canny signings. I don’t think I’ve seen Højbjerg give the ball away yet, and Redmond has great movement on and off the ball. Tadic playing through the middle will be a big feature for us this season, and if that clicks, we could see some good performances. I actually think Højbjerg is an upgrade on Wanyama, but many may disagree with me. Judging on his passing against United last night, I think we’ve got a real gem on our hands.

For what it’s worth, I think, barring one more signing, we have the nucleus of a good side, albeit one that will probably take a while to adapt to a new formation and style of play under Puel.

The only question I have is – will the fans show patience?

Southampton in the Premier League this time around have always been a frustrating team to support. Not big enough to ever attract or keep the top players, not small enough at the moment to avoid question marks over our ambition from certain parts of our fan base.

I can understand to a certain extent why people were disappointed when Puel took over. He’s not exactly  a laugh-a-minute, but he comes across as a thoughtful, studious coach, who works hard on the training ground and wants his teams’ football to do the talking.

It’s clear that Puel isn’t a short-term appointment. It’s also clear that the signings we’ve made aren’t short-term signings. Something is building again here at St. Mary’s – and we must show a bit of patience and get behind the team.

We may look at teams like Crystal Palace throwing money around left, right and centre, and feel slightly aggrieved that we’re not. But look at the core of Palace’s squad. It’s weaker, and built on shakier foundations. They need to spend that money, and that’s their strategy. Great. Good for them.

It’s clear that our strategy is to build a side with a mixture of homegrown talent and hard-working players that fit our mould. The Southampton Way. We may have lost some of that last season under Koeman, despite our final position. The football, whilst it could have been classed as ‘winning football’ last season, wasn’t great to watch at points. And there has to be hard reset to a certain extent to get back to a style of football we can all be proud of.

And regardless of what many think – it is imperative that we keep young players like Matt Targett and James Ward-Prowse in and around the starting lineup, and allow more of our homegrown players to come through, rather than just buying in. Could that effect our league position? Possibly. Is it the right thing for the club? Definitely. Which would you prefer supporting – a soulless marketing machine like Manchester United, or a team who try to do things the right way, like Southampton do. Despite Friday’s result, I’d prefer the latter.

This season may be a bit of a reality check for us. We have a busy campaign coming up – the league, 2x domestic cups, and a Europa League campaign. Something’s got to give, and I feel we may drop a couple of league positions. But that’s life. We’ll still be there next season.The club will still be there next season. And we’re here now. So let’s get behind the team that we have, and not cause needless casualties through our own lack of patience.

We are a team built on faith. So let’s show some.

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