Southampton boss Martin on defeating Millwall – claims dominance of ball helped them finish strong at Den

Southampton manager Russell Martin felt his side’s dominance with the ball was a key factor in them finishing so strongly in their 1-0 win at Millwall.

Sub Ryan Fraser finally broke the Lions’ resistance in the third minute of stoppage time.

The Saints have collected 10 points from late goals this season and are fourth in the Championship table.

Martin agreed in his post-match press conference that the breakthroughs in the latter stages were not a coincidence.

He added: “No it’s not and I only see that as a positive because of the amount of dominance the guys have with the ball and the amount of energy they take out of the opposition is not easy. I’ll always be grateful for that.

“What they (the players) have now is a huge amount of pride and belief in what they are doing.

“We spoke before the game about being the team we want to be wherever we go and this is a really tough place to come, despite some of their results this season. They had so much aggression in the first half and made it difficult for us. We didn’t quite move the ball quick enough. Second half the lads responded and stayed so brave – sometimes under big pressure. They built up from the back beautifully well and then, because of that, the amount of running we made them do – it’s why the game looked like it did in the last half-hour. We were relentless attack and the ball would come back.

“I said to Gilly (Matt Gill) at one point: ‘I feel this is the moment we’ve got them now’. About 60 minutes in. We couldn’t quite break them down. The goalkeeper made a couple of good saves and there were a few moments in the box. Thankfully we’ve got it at the end.

“We had control. We limited them to one shot on target. They hit the bar from a set-piece – they have such a threat from set-pieces with the size they have. They are very good at it – the power they have. They had too many set-pieces in the first half. We didn’t quite stay in their half for long enough, for a number of reasons. We showed the players that at half-time and the second half was very, very different due to the aggression with the ball and sacrificing themselves going forward to open spaces for each other – it was really top.”

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