Adkins hails Saints character

Southampton boss Nigel Adkins hailed his side’s battling
qualities after they came from 2-0 down to snatch a point against
Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

But Adkins also felt his side had followed their instructions
almost to the letter in securing an unlikely draw.

“We came here with a gameplan,” he said. “Obviously Chelsea are
a good side and if you give them space they’re going to hurt
you.

“So we came here to put a block in and to try to intercept and
then go on and counter-attack.

“The two goals we conceded – we could have cleared them a little
bit better in the penalty area and the one just before half time
could have been a big sucker punch.

“But it was great character from the players – to come out in
the second half and stick to that gameplan – and great impact (from
the substitutes) coming off the bench and to go and claw two goals
back.”

It took substitute Rickie Lambert less than three minutes to
score the goal that sparked the visitor’s comeback but Adkins was
unapologetic about leaving his top-scorer on the bench.

“We came with a gameplan,” Adkins insisted. “To use the pace of
Jay Rodriguez on the counter-attack and then look for the impact
when Rickie Lambert comes on – and impact was what it was all
about.

“He (Lambert) was fresh for those final 35 minutes of the game
and he’s come on and scored a vital goal.”