Nigel Adkins has challenged his Southampton side to inflict more home discomfort on Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night.
The Blues have lost both of their last two midweek matches on home soil, and coupled with the disappointment of a 5-1 defeat to Rafa Benitez’s side ten days ago, means there are plenty of incentives that Adkins can draw upon to get a result in West London.
“We’re in a good run of form so whoever we play we’re going to believe that we’ve got an opportunity to get something from the game,” the gaffer told Saints Player.
“Obviously, we played them not so long ago in the cup and that gives us an insight into their capabilities up front and out wide. We know they’re a good side, and the last two Wednesdays at home, they’ve lost, and they’re expected to win their games at home.
“They’ve got talented, talented football players as we believe we have as well, and what we’ve got to do is make sure that we go there with the belief that we can get three points and if not then we come away with one.”
Chelsea’s recent woes at the Bridge have seen them lose to neighbours QPR, as well as slipping to defeat against Swansea City in the Capital One Cup, and Adkins says he’ll be looking at his team to use the same mentality that earned a win at Aston Villa over the weekend.
“When we look at the game we played last against Aston Villa we wanted to get right on the front foot and at them because we thought that they might be a little bit vulnerable from the defeat to Bradford in the midweek,” he explained.
“Chelsea were very loud when their supporters came to St Mary’s, they’ve got good supporters and there’ll be at home. We have good support when we go away as well, so we want to go there and endeavour to play the way we want in order to win.
“We’ve got to be respectful of their very talented football players, but at the same time we can’t be fearful of them.
“They play between the lines ever so well,” the manager added. “They’re talented players who pass the ball around quickly, they find a bit of space, so it’s fair to say that if you play an expansive game and leave spaces open, even in close spaces, they’re likely to pick a pass and get talented players in behind you.
“We know that the opposition have players that can score goals, but we believe that we’ve got talented players and we know we have because we score goals and our defensive resolve has been a lot better as a team.
“It’s about finding ways to win, and what we’ve got now is another crack at a team that are in the top four and one that we’ve played once before.”
Nigel confirmed that neither José Fonte, nor Adam Lallana will feature on Wednesday night, but hinted that Luke Shaw may be a step closer despite leaving Saturday’s game on a stretcher.
“We’ll have to wait and see,” he said. “We’ve been on the training ground this morning and that’s a positive.
“José is progressing well and from that point of view we’re delighted with the way that he’s working with the medical team, and he’ll be back as soon as he is able.”