Ruben Selles vows Southampton will fight to the end in survival battle
Ruben Selles vowed Southampton will “fight until the very last point” after his side slipped closer to Premier League relegation following a damaging 1-0 defeat to Bournemouth.
Marcus Tavernier’s second-half winner at St Mary’s left the the division’s bottom club six points from safety with five games to go.
Beleaguered Saints thought they had snatched a dramatic draw but Che Adams’ 89th-minute effort was disallowed for offside following VAR intervention.
A painful defeat to their south-coast rivals inflicted a club-record 11th home league loss of the season on Southampton, with lingering hopes of survival fading fast.
“We are going to go and try to put a performance in every game to try to win, and we are going to do it until the very end,” said Selles.
“I know it’s only five games to play. But we are professionals and we will fight until the very last point.
“I know now it’s hard, I know the table is looking like it’s a difficult one but we are going to give it a try.”
Southampton lacked attacking thrust and urgency for much of a miserable evening played in soggy conditions.
Aside from Adams’ disallowed effort, the home side rarely threatened an equaliser following Tavernier’s deflected effort in the 50th minute.
“It’s a disappointing night, we came with the intention to put in a good performance and we obviously didn’t,” said Selles.
“Some of the things that can go against us, they went against us.
“Even the offside goal, it’s a couple of centimetres but it is offside. It was a hard night.”
Southampton lost captain James Ward-Prowse for the second half due to a sore throat and he will be assessed before Sunday’s visit to high-flying Newcastle.
Bournemouth moved on to 36 points – seven clear of the drop zone – following a significant win over their near neighbours.
Cherries boss Gary O’Neil initially feared substitute Adams was onside but felt his team were due a favourable VAR call.
O’Neil insists Bournemouth still have work to do to ensure safety following a third consecutive away success.
“It’s a big win for us, of course,” he said. “The performance was pleasing. I thought we were by far the better side today.
“The lads are recovering for Sunday (at home to Leeds), there’s no celebration, there’s not talk of points tallies. I can easily see 36 points going down this year. We won’t be resting.”
Speaking about the disallowed goal, he said: “We were due one to go our way. We’ve had some tight ones go against us.
“There were a few screams on the bench when it was ruled out. I didn’t think it was going to be.
“We had some footage in front of us which wasn’t clear. That’s a horrible moment as a coach when you’re sat there and waiting for someone to decide.
“But the players didn’t deserve to suffer that today, so pleased that we had a VAR check go our way for the first time this season, I think.”
Match-winner Tavernier limped off 12 minutes from time with a hamstring issue.
“He seems to think it isn’t too serious,” said O’Neil. “Hopefully it was just a touch of cramp.”