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 By Alex Crook

EFL heartbreak for Saints as safety-first Puel endures tough debut season

The FC crew discuss whether Southampton can keep hold of star man Virgil van Dijk.

It has been a season full of ups and downs for Southampton, from the high of qualifying for the EFL Cup final to the low of a gut-wrenching 3-2 defeat to a Zlatan Ibrahimovic inspired Manchester United at Wembley.

New manager Claude Puel masterminded wins over Inter Milan, Arsenal and Liverpool, but has also presided over some pretty insipid performances, which have put his long-term future at the club in doubt.

It shows how far Southampton have come in a relatively short space of time that contesting...

 By Alex Crook

Southampton end Premier League campaign with dispiriting defeat

Peter Crouch made good on a pre-match bet with a Stoke supporter after the Potters' 1-0 win at Southampton.
Peter Crouch's towering header won Stoke City all three points as Southampton's barren home run continued.
Peter Crouch's towering header won Stoke City all three points as Southampton's barren home run continued.

Southampton's season limped to a disappointing finish as they were beaten 1-0 at home by Stoke on Sunday, piling more pressure on manager Claude Puel.

Peter Crouch's second half header on his return to St Mary's was enough to earn fellow Mark Hughes his 150th Premier League win as a manager.

Saints failed to score at home for the fifth match in a row after being denied by some super saves from Stoke goalkeeper Jack Butland.

Positives

At least Southampton fans do not have to watch any more of this...

 By Alex Crook

Claude Puel shouldn't shoulder all of the blame for Southampton's season

Claude Puel discusses his Southampton side's goalless draw against Manchester United.
Claude Puel discusses his Southampton side's goalless draw against Manchester United.

Fall guy: A person who is falsely blamed for something that has gone wrong, according to the Oxford Dictionary.

Southampton manager Claude Puel could be forgiven for pointing out the definition to his bosses when he is summoned to an end-of-season review meeting, which will decide his future next week.

It is true Puel has made mistakes in his first season in the Premier League, but Southampton's failure to emulate their lofty finishing positions from the previous three years cannot solely be laid...

 By Alex Crook

Lack of scoring continues to haunt Southampton in frustrating home draw

Sergio Romero's saves for Manchester United were the only bright spot in an otherwise dismal contest.
Sergio Romero's saves for Manchester United were the only bright spot in an otherwise dismal contest.
Claude Puel is pleased with a draw against Man United, but admits they would've won without Sergio Romero's heroics in net.

Southampton's penalty curse struck again as they fought out a 0-0 draw at home against Manchester United on Wednesday.

Manolo Gabbiadini became the third player to miss from the spot in the past five games as his sixth-minute effort was saved by stand-in goalkeeper Sergio Romero.

Romero also pulled off a string of good stops in the second half to extend the Saints' scoring drought at the St Mary's Stadium.

SouthamptonSouthampton
Manchester UnitedManchester United
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United might have rested a number of first-team regulars ahead of next week's Europa...

 By Nick Ames

Saints draw just a warm-up for Man United's season-defining UEL final

Sergio Romero's saves for Manchester United were the only bright spot in an otherwise dismal contest.
Sergio Romero's saves for Manchester United were the only bright spot in an otherwise dismal contest.
Jose Mourinho had an interesting response to a question regarding David de Gea after the match against Southampton.
Shaka Hislop feels Michael Carrick offers balance for Man United, but should Jose Mourinho be looking elsewhere?

SOUTHAMPTON, England -- If Manchester United prevail against Ajax in Stockholm next week to win the Europa League, nights like Wednesday may fade into the distant memory. In truth, that will not be difficult regardless of United's fate in the Europa final next Wednesday, such was the shapelessness of what they served up at St Mary's. For United, this was simply the latest box to be ticked in an extended warm-up to the match on which their next 12 months now hinges, and while that may reasonably...

 By Alex Crook

Options for Puel, Southampton to jump-start attack this summer

Claude Puel admits Middlesbrough made life difficult for Southampton in the Saints' narrow win.

When it comes to their team missing chances, Claude Puel and Jose Mourinho could compare hard-luck stories when they share a touchline at the St Mary's Stadium on Wednesday.

Manchester United's failure to finish in the Premier League top four has been largely down to their remarkable inability to put the ball in the net -- especially at Old Trafford -- while Puel is never reluctant to point out Southampton have had more misplaced shots than any other team this season.

As Mourinho plots to bring...