Middlesbrough’s penalty and Southampton’s “passive” attitude frustrate Russell Martin

Middlesbrough’s penalty and Southampton’s “passive” attitude frustrate Russell Martin


Russell Martin was left doubly frustrated after Middlesbrough’s 2-1 victory over his Southampton side. As well as annoyance at his own side’s performance, the Saints boss also fumed at the penalty decision that ultimately divided the two sides.

Boro got their first win of the season and moved off the bottom of the table thanks to goals from Riley McGree and Jonny Howson. But Michael Carrick’s side had to come from behind to win after falling behind again to Adam Armstrong’s 17th-minute goal.

Boro’s winner came from the penalty spot as Taylor Harwood-Bellis tugged Josh Coburn to the ground as the Boro striker looked to readjust to get on the end of a cross. But Martin was left fuming with the decision, receiving a yellow card during the game as he remonstrated.
Giving his thoughts on it after, Martin said: “Both of them were pulling each other. I’ve only seen it once, but Taylor [Harwood-Bellis] said he was pulling his shirt as well. I think the referee has guessed. It could have gone either way.”

Boro’s win sealed a fourth straight defeat for Southampton, but it was a first in which they lost having gone ahead in a game. Boro showed the character to come from behind, while Martin was left really disappointed with his side’s change in mentality after taking the lead.

He continued: “I thought we were actually better than we have been. We started the game well. We stole the ball really well and Che (Adams) should have scored. Our goal was really good. That reaction to going ahead was passive. When we go 1-0 ahead, the mentality of the entire team totally changes.

“We didn’t keep hold of the ball. If you’re not going to press you need to look after the ball. We didn’t do any of that. That’s ultimately what hurt us. Up until the last 15 minutes, when it became a bit helter-skelter because we were chasing the game, I thought we had loads of control in the second half.

“We looked really creative in the middle of the pitch and then they won a penalty six or seven seconds later. After that, it’s a bit difficult to create when a team is defending for their life. The energy in the stadium and the crowd were really willing them on. We didn’t do enough to break them down.

“We were chasing the game at the end. We are away from home and we need to draw. When you haven’t won in three games you have a choice to make, but you can’t accept a defeat. They cleared it to the big lad up top and they ran off him. That may affect the stats of the game, but we are really chasing the game. It is what it is.”

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