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Le Saux backing Saints to avoid drop heartbreak
GRAEME Le Saux expects Saints to avoid a repeat of what he ranks “one of the hardest days of my career”.
Le Saux was in the Saints side relegated from the Premier League under Harry Redknapp on the last day of the 2004/05 season, beaten 3-1 at home by Manchester United.
It was also the last game of the former England star’s career.
But Le Saux believes his former club are good enough to be in the top flight at the end of this season.
He said: “The situation at Southampton now is far more positive than eight years ago.
“My last game against Man Utd was one of the hardest emotionally I’ve ever had as a pro and I never had a chance to put it right.
“I’d made my mind up at Christmas that it was my last season, I was 36 and spending a lot of time in the treatment recovering from niggly injuries.
“It wasn’t a particularly stable place to be and it’s difficult to play when there’s a lot of negativity and uncertainty around a club.
“Ulitmately we weren’t good enough or confident enough to hold on to winning positions and it was heartbreaking from a professional point of view and for the fans.
“But the current Southampton team is very confident and their goal difference is much better than those beneath them.
“I’ve seen them quite a few times away from St Mary’s and, thankfully, they’ve been much more positive since Christmas.
“The game that stands out for me was the defeat at West Brom back in November.
“Although they were beaten 2-0 it was a real watershed result. That was the lowest point, afterwards we all thought we’d be reading about Nigel Adkins going in the morning.
“But their form picked up, they’re tighter at the back and they’re playing with more freedom and creativity through midfield and the wide areas.
“They’ve been much more positive, which was why it was such a surprise when Nigel Adkins was replaced. You can only presume that decision was made before Christmas.
“But Southampton fans are some of the most loyal anywhere and ultimately you have to support the team, especially with Premier League survival being so vital for the club.
“I want to see Southampton win the Premier League as I think all neutrals do. It always felt so wrong to see them in the Championship and League One.”
Le Saux, who made 46 appearances during his two seasons with Saints, will be at St Mary’s on Saturday for the first time this season.
He added: “The players need to stand up and be counted, playing in the Premier League requires courage on the ball.
“If you shy away from responsibilities your team comes under a lot of pressure and the game against Liverpool on Saturday will be a case in point.”