Nigel Adkins felt that Chelsea’s second goal on the stroke of half time was ultimately a turning point in Saturday’s FA Cup defeat.
Saints led 1-0 through Jay Rodriguez’s 21st minute strike, but were pegged back ten minutes before the break by Demba Ba’s debut goal, before Victor Moses turned the contest on its head in stoppage time at the end of the first half, which proved pivotal according to the manager.
“We did ever so well for 44 minutes,” Nigel told Saints Player afterwards. “We had a good start to the game and it was a good goal from Jay Rodriguez.
“There was a nice bit of cat and mouse to the game and we got into a bit of a flow, but the goal right behind half time was really hard for everyone to go and take.”
Second half goals from Branislav Ivanovic, Demba Ba and Frank Lampard sealed an emphatic win for the visitors, but Adkins won’t let the result detract away from the team’s progress.
“We will move on,” he affirmed. “We have been on a good run of form and playing some good football, which I think was demonstrated in the first half.
“In the second half we came up against the Cup holders and European Champions who were the team very much in form in the second half.
“It is fair to say that in the second half Chelsea were the better side and deserved the victory in the end.
“I don’t think it was a penalty but we aren’t going to moan about that because in the second half Chelsea were very good. Their quality told because they move the ball around brightly and briskly, so we need to give them a lot of credit.”
There was a further concern shortly after the Blues had made it 4-1 when ever present defender José Fonte left the field on a stretcher clutching his knee.
“José had to leave the pitch on a stretcher but we don’t know the extent of the injury at the moment because he is still getting assessed,” said the gaffer.
“It was a knee injury so I can’t say if he is going to be out for a period of time, or what the extent of the damage is.”
Saints will be quickly reunited with Chelsea in ten days’ time for the rescheduled league encounter at Stamford Bridge, and Nigel says that the preparation for that game and next week’s trip to Aston Villa starts now.
“We are all looking forward to going to Stamford Bridge, they brought a big crowd with them today and made a lot of noise in support of their team.
“We just have to get ready for a lot of games in close proximity and make sure that we are refreshed and raring to go for the game against Aston Villa next Saturday.”