(Reuters) – Southampton’s players have to be completely committed to the club’s cause, manager Mauricio Pellegrino said ahead of Saturday’s Premier League trip to Stamford Bridge to face defending champions Chelsea.
Southampton were hammered 4-1 by Leicester City on Wednesday as former boss Claude Puel returned to heap misery on the club, who are 11th in the league with 18 points after their seventh defeat of the season.
“They (the players) are human beings and sometimes they don’t have a good moment. I understand this. But their behaviour has to be committed with the club 100 percent,” Pellegrino told a news conference on Thursday.
“In difficult moments for me obviously you have to come back to the foundations of the team, to the discipline of the team, and get them to think about the possibility they have to be in this club and in the Premier League.
“Not too many players are in this situation. Obviously we have to start to choose the players that want to help the club 100 percent.”
Pellegrino, who apologised to Southampton’s fans after the Leicester result, believes the game against third-placed Chelsea offers his team a good chance to respond to the heavy defeat and end a run of four games without victory.
Southampton’s task will be daunting as Chelsea have lost only once in the last nine league games and come into the contest on the back of a 3-1 victory over Huddersfield Town.
“For us it is a good opportunity this Saturday where we can play a top team where we might find more space. Even against really good teams you can beat them, in 90 minutes anything can happen.”
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis)