Fraser Forster is back to his best, says Southampton boss Claude Puel

09 May 2017 01:10

Southampton boss Claude Puel says goalkeeper Fraser Forster is over his early-season jitters and back to his best.

Forster's form was under scrutiny earlier this term following some unconvincing displays, notably when his mistake helped Crystal Palace to a 3-0 win in December.

But the England international has looked more assured in keeping back-to-back clean sheets in 0-0 draws against Hull and, on Sunday, at Liverpool when he saved a penalty from James Milner.

Saints host Arsenal on Wednesday night with Puel, who managed Tottenham's Hugo Lloris while he was at Lyon, backing Forster to maintain his fine recent form.

"I can say about Fraser that, in the second half of the season, he's playing with good consistency in his game," said the Frenchman.

"Like at Liverpool he had a good presence and put his personality on the game, not just with the penalty save.

"I am happy with Fraser, it's important for the team and the player to give their best. He also plays behind a strong defensive unit.

"Fraser is important and for the team it's important he has a good performance.

"I cannot compare him with other goalkeepers. Every other goalkeeper, like Lloris, has another profile.

"But it's important to have a good goalkeeper to get results and over the second half of the season I am satisfied with Fraser."

Puel has also tipped Manolo Gabbiadini to rediscover his goal touch against the Gunners.

The January signing from Napoli scored six times in his first four Saints appearances but has not found the net since returning from a groin injury.

Saints did not manage a shot on target at Anfield, but Puel says Gabbiadini and his team-mates will go on the attack against Arsene Wenger's side.

"I think sometimes it's difficult, when you come back from an injury, to find the good rhythm and good intensity - and of course we played a difficult game for a striker against Liverpool," added Puel.

"He played alone, between two or three defenders, so it's difficult to have the ball.

"Like many strikers his quality is in the box, and we need to have the ball high up the pitch on the opponent to have the final shot and find the clinical edge.

"It's important to play as high as possible, against Liverpool it was another tactic. We played against a good team, they wanted the three points for their position in the table.

"It was difficult, but against Arsenal it will be another game. I think this game will be open and perhaps we will see more opportunities for them and for us."

Source: PA