Banger urges Saints bravery in survival fight

Boss Ralph Hasenhuttl says he wants his Southampton side to be a 'nasty opponent for every team' in the Premier League this season.

Southampton old boy Nicky Banger says the team need to be "brave" in their bid to avoid the drop this season.

Saints have had a slow start to the season, sitting 19th after winning just twice, and they are without a home victory since April’s 3-1 success against Wolves.

The pressure is being cranked up on coach Ralph Hasenhuttl but he will look to get their season on track on Sunday at Arsenal following the international break.

While the trip to the Emirates will be tough, their five games after that fixture could define the season. Saints face Watford, Norwich, Newcastle, West Ham and Aston Villa in a run of games up to and including December 21.

Southampton’s problems have largely been at the back, conceding a Premier League-high 29 goals in 12 games – nine of which came in the infamous 9-0 defeat to Leicester.

Tightening up across the field is crucial but they also need to start scoring, as they have netted just 11 times so far, and Banger believes the time has come for the players to step up.

Born and bred in Southampton, the now 48-year-old spent five years in and around the first team before going on to have spells at a further 14 clubs.

Banger still keeps his eye on the team and believes it is too early to panic with less than a third of the season gone.

Instead, he feels the squad need to show their courage by taking control of games and not be afraid of the possible consequences should things go wrong.

“Saints need to focus on being very tight and organised both defensively and offensively,” he told the Daily Echo. “I don’t think winning ugly is a bad thing – Saints just need to win, and people need to be brave.

“Brave doesn’t mean you go around kicking people, it means that you want the ball all the time knowing that you will make mistakes.”