Puel unhappy after Sparta loss

By SFC Media Thu 24 Nov Sparta vs Saints

Claude Puel admitted Southampton’s performance against Sparta Praha in the UEFA Europa League was “not good enough”.

Saints slipped to their second Group K defeat at Generali Stadium on Thursday night, as Sparta’s 11th-minute goal proved to be the difference between the two sides.

The result means Saints will need either a 0-0 draw or win against Hapoel Be’er Sheva in their final group game, at St Mary’s, to qualify for the knockout phase.

“It’s a bad result. We made a good start in the game, but then on the first free-kick we take a goal against us and this is hard to accept,” said Puel.

“I think we played a good first half without a clinical edge, but after we lost the structure in the second half to keep our calm.

“It was a good position for the other team, because they made it difficult for us to find solutions on a bad pitch, but that is not an excuse.

“It was not enough to win this game.”

Puel says Saints must now clear their heads; with three big games to come in domestic competitions before Hapoel Be’er Sheva visit in early December.

“Now it’s important to keep our concentration. We know at the beginning of the night a draw was not sufficient,” Puel added.

“Now it’s a final game in front of our fans. We have to play a very good game for the next game at home to make sure we qualify, for the players and fans.

“Of course tonight it is disappointing. We now have to keep a good spirit for Everton on Sunday.”

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