Adkins takes blame for Saints exit
Nigel Adkins shouldered the blame for his Southampton side's Capital One Cup exit at Leeds, accepting the majority of the 11 different faces he fielded did not take their chance to shine.
Goals from Michael Tonge and El-Hadji Diouf and a Luciano Becchio penalty helped the npower Championship side to their second successive top-flight scalp, with their 3-0 victory earning them a first quarter-final berth since 1996.
Neil Warnock's men had the run of the park against a below-par Saints side, with Adkins' much-changed side unable to find sanctuary from their dismal Premier League form. "We didn't perform anywhere near what's expected of a Southampton Football Club team," he said.
But having lost to Tottenham just over 48 hours ago, Adkins was of the opinion that he could not have put his first-team players through another tough workout and accepted the responsibility for the collapse.
Adkins added: "Forty-eight hours ago we had a high-intensity game and I made the relevant changes. I take full responsibility. We wanted to play tomorrow, but the powers that be wanted it to be tonight. But we gave the players who have not been in the team to the chance to show what they could do, and they did not take it."
The players Adkins refers to are the likes of veteran goalkeeper Kelvin Davis, defender Jos Hooiveld, midfielder Richard Chaplow and forward Guly Do Prado. None of them were able to have an impact on the game, though, with only debutant substitute Lloyd Isgrove emerging with any real credit.
"It will be good experience for the young players," Adkins added. "We have tried to blood them in the past and utilised them in the cup competitions but, on the whole, we haven't performed. I have to take full responsibility. When you look at it, though, we played 48 hours ago, we use the second day as a recovery day and I didn't want to risk injury as we have a few as it is."
For his part, Warnock had nothing to be concerned about, on or off the field. The veteran tactician is trying to make daughter Amy's wish to see him manage at Wembley come true and, with his side now one of three non-Premier League teams left at the last-eight stage, thoughts are starting to turn towards a possible trip to the capital.
"Amy came tonight, she just had a word in my ear about it," Warnock said. "I thought that right from the off we were at it. I wanted us to enjoy it because if all the games are like our draw with Charlton last week, I would be better off fishing.
"We played some good football. In the second half, when it was 1-0, I said to my assistant Ronnie Jepson that extra-time would kill us, because you thought Southampton would always have that chance. But we didn't sit back and we should have scored more goals."
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