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Reasons why Southampton were relegated from Premier League

Stephen Warnock and Robbie Earle react to Southampton's relegation from the Premier League following 11 years in the top flight following the Saints' defeat to Fulham.

Southampton were relegated from the Premier League as a 2-0 home defeat to Fulham ended the Saints’ 11-year stay in the top-flight.


Second half goals from Carlos Vinicius and the returning Aleksandar Mitrovic sealed the win for Fulham as Marco Silva’s side showed their class and look certain to finish in the top 10.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]

Southampton rarely threatened and Ruben Selles has now seen his side go 11 games without a win as barring a miraculous finish to the season with two wins from two and given their goal difference, they are all-but confirmed to finish bottom of the Premier League table.

The home fans vented their anger at the full time whistle, chanting ‘you’re not fit to wear the shirt’ as Southampton’s players have been out of their depth for most of this season and they haven’t been helped by the constant managerial changes and change of direction at the top of the club.

This is the first full season new owners Sport Republic have been in charge and they issued a statement saying: “Our work begins today to return Southampton Football Club to where it belongs... We understand that significant improvement is required, and at the end of the season we will announce our immediate next steps and provide details of how the club will operate moving forward.”

Reasons why Southampton were relegated - Timeline of decline

  1. Previous owner Jisheng Gao did not invest in Southampton for almost five years before Sport Republic arrived as owners in January 2021. Due to that the squad was already short on quality and experience and that had already caught up with Saints over the last 18 months.
  2. Sport Republic then kept Ralph Hasenhuttl in charge too long as the rot set in last season (One win in their final 13 games) and the Austrian coach was kept around in the summer despite many believing it was the right time for everyone to part ways after he had done a fine job. Saints would have had more managerial options in the summer if Hasenhuttl was moved on.
  3. They embarked on a risky strategy of signing young players and getting rid of a whole host of experience with Fraser Forster, Nathan Redmond, Oriol Romeu and Jack Stephens (loan) all leaving. Romeo Lavia and Armel Bella-Kotchap worked out but other summer signings Gavin Bazunu, Duje Caleta-Car, Sam Edozie, Joe Aribo and Sekou Mara have all struggled.
  4. When they fired Hasenhuttl in November they went for an inexperienced coach in Nathan Jones who had never managed in the Premier League. That decision was based purely on stats from the lower leagues and backfired spectacularly as Jones lost seven of his eight PL games in charge and managed to upset pretty much the entire fanbase and several key players with his abrasive nature.
  5. In January they panicked and spent big money on forwards Kamaldeen Sulemana, Mislav Orsic and Paul Onuachu but didn’t really have a plan of how to use them in their system. Only Chelsea spent more than Southampton in January and Sport Republic spent big, but not well, over the last two transfer windows.
  6. When they fired Jones in February they tried to hire Jesse Marsch but the deal fell through at the last minute and then they just sort of gave up and gave the job to assistant coach Ruben Selles on a permanent basis after he won his first game in charge, a 1-0 win at Chelsea.
  7. After winning two of his first three games in charge 1-0, Selles set Saints up in a very negative fashion and they just didn’t have the players to play that way. The recruitment strategy for years had been about signing players who can high-press and then Selles asked them to sit back and tried to keep the ball. The end result was 13 defeats by a one-goal margin over the season.
  8. Lack of leadership from top to bottom. This is something that usually happens when a team is relegated but Sport Republic -- led by Rasmus Ankersen on the football side, a man who worked wonders at Brentford and Midtjylland in terms of recruitment -- have barely discussed their plans for Saints. Key leaders at every level of the club have left throughout the season and on the pitch Ward-Prowse has looked a shadow of himself and Selles could not instil belief in his tactics.
  9. Southampton need a reset across the entire club and it could be the best thing that’s happened to them since the Ronald Koeman era in 2016. Ever since he left and the ownership changed Saints have been treading water and this season a multitude of mistakes, on and off the pitch, was too much for them to handle. They truly deserved to be relegated.

Embarrassing end to Southampton’s Premier League stay

Only the ‘big six’ and Everton have been in the Premier League longer than Southampton’s 11-year stay and after four-straight top eight finishes, European action, FA Cup semifinals and a League Cup final over the last decade, the way it has ended this season is nothing short of shambolic. From sacking Ralph Hasenhuttl to hiring Nathan Jones, then firing Jones eight PL games later and then putting assistant Ruben Selles in charge, Southampton have been all over the place this season. Sport Republic arrived as Southampton’s owners 18 months ago and spent heavily on young talents to rejuvenate the squad and it was a risky strategy. It hasn’t worked. At all.

Huge questions need to be asked of the ownership and those (most notably Rasmus Ankersen) who have made the big decisions but it all boils down to this: Southampton’s squad isn’t good enough and those making the decisions at the top of the club have made bad decisions. An almighty rebuild will need to take place this summer and Southampton need to regain their identity as a club. For so long they have put faith in youth and they need to do that once again, while also adding a more experienced core, if they’re going to come straight back up to the Premier League. After giving the Premier League so much over the last 11 years it was sad to see Saints depart in this manner.

Stars of the show; Southampton vs Fulham player ratings

Harry Wilson: Heavily involved in both goals and was a constant threat on the counter.

Harrison Reed: On his return to Southampton he dominated midfield and was involved in the first goal.

Southampton vs Fulham

What’s next?

Southampton head to Brighton on Sunday, May 21. Fulham host Crystal Palace on Saturday, May 20.

How to watch Southampton vs Fulham live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 10am ET TV Channel: PeacockOnline: Stream via Peacock Premium

Southampton vs Fulham live analysis! - By Joe Prince-Wright

FULL TIME - Southampton 0-2 Fulham - Saints’ relegation from the Premier League is confirmed and it is a sorry sight at St Mary’s as most fans have already left. A fine away win for Fulham, who look set to seal a top 10 finish.

GOALLLL! Southampton 0-2 Fulham - Aleksandar Mitrovic with a brilliant header as he marks his return from suspension with a goal. Lovely cross from Harry Wilson too.

Southampton’s Premier League status is going to end with a whimper. They are struggling to create anything against Fulham.

CLOSE! Paul Onuachu heads over from inside the six yard box. Decent ball from Kyle Walker-Peters to find the big man at the back post.

GOALLL! Southampton 0-1 Fulham - After a good ball across to Harry Wilson and he finds Harrison Reed, a lucky deflection falls straight to Carlos Vinicius and Fulham are ahead.

Carlos Alcaraz has the ball in the back of the net... but he was clearly offside. That has got the home fans going.

The second half is underway at St Mary’s. Can the Saints save themselves from relegation? At least for now...

HALF TIME: Southampton 0-0 Fulham - 45 minutes gone and aside from Lyanco’s goal-line clearance there hasn’t been much action at either end. Remember: Southampton need to win this game to stay in the Premier League. They may only have 45 minutes left as a PL club...

OFF THE LINE! Lyanco heads away brilliantly as Wilson got in down the right and set up Reed and his pass found Willian at the back post. The Brazilian controlled and volleyed superbly towards goal but his fellow Brazilian Lyanco was there to head if off the line.

Not much going on at either end but Southampton have battled back into things and Fulham have not got going in the final third. Bit of a stalemate in the sun, this.

VAR check for a possible penalty for Fulham after the ball appeared to hit Lyanco on the arm in the box. But nothing is given. The referee then stops Southampton from taking a quick throw when they had a chance to be clean through. The home fans are not happy.

Stuart Armstrong surges down the left but his cross is straight at Bernd Leno in the Fulham goal. Again, better from the hosts.

First bit of forward play from Southampton as Romeo Lavia clips the ball over the top but Theo Walcott was just offside and Antonee Robinson dealt with it and cleared the danger. Still, Saints may look for that long ball more often.

Fulham have dominated possession early on and Southampton have barely had a touch in the Fulham half.

KICK OFF! We are off in the sunshine at St Mary’s. Can Southampton get the win they need to keep their survival hopes alive for at least one more day?

Key storylines & in-form players to watch

Southampton are creating chances and had a real go at Forest but they just weren’t good enough at either end of the pitch and that is why they are bottom of the table. Carlos Alcaraz (20) and Romeo Lavia (19) are two young players who have been excellent for Saints, while James Ward-Prowse had a goal and an assist against Forest but he hasn’t been up to his usually high standards for most of the season. The biggest issue has been conceding goals as Saints have let in 64, the third-most in the PL.

Fulham have been a bit inconsistent in recent months but they’re still having a wonderful season and the likes of Willian, Tom Cairney, Harry Wilson and Carlos Vinicius have stepped up recently. The Cottagers are really good to watch and with Mitrovic now available after serving his eight-game suspension, it is likely he will appear at Southampton, probably off the bench.

Southampton team news, injuries, lineup

OUT: Juan Larios (thigh), Mohammed Salisu (pelvis), Romain Perraud (surgery), Valentino Livramento (other), Armel Bella-Kotchap (hamstring), Che Adams (knock)

Fulham team news, injuries, lineup

OUT: Layvin Kurzawa (knee), Tim Ream (broken arm), Andreas Pereira (lower leg)

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