Manchester City 2-1 Southampton: Three key players

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 29: Cedric Soares of Southampton attempts to get past Raheem Sterling of Manchester City during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Southampton at Etihad Stadium on November 29, 2017 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 29: Cedric Soares of Southampton attempts to get past Raheem Sterling of Manchester City during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Southampton at Etihad Stadium on November 29, 2017 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images) /
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SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 04: Mauricio Pellegrino, Manager of Southampton looks on prior to the Premier League match between Southampton and Burnley at St Mary’s Stadium on November 4, 2017 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images)
SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 04: Mauricio Pellegrino, Manager of Southampton looks on prior to the Premier League match between Southampton and Burnley at St Mary’s Stadium on November 4, 2017 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images) /

Mauricio Pellegrino

Following the loss to 0-3 loss to Liverpool, the Southampton sgaffer firmly placed himself on the managerial hot seat. However, following a win against Everton, and the team performance on Wednesday vs. Manchester City, it should change the minds of many.

Saints fans were biting their nails knowing the Everton and Manchester City games could change the course of the season drastically. One way or the other. Having scored just six goals in the previous ten games, it was painfully obvious what the issue was.

Mauricio Pellegrino’s hesitance to change team shape and tactics was, and in some ways still is, his greatest criticism.

However, against Manchester City he deployed the three centre-back formation many have been expecting since the addition of Wesley Hoedt. He also withheld Ryan Bertrand and Cedric Soares who typically have a license to go forward. Finally, for the first time all season, he appeared to have employed two strikers with pace, in Nathan Redmond and Shane Long.

Fans and experts, including the one writing this article, have harshly criticized Pellegrino for his game plans, or lack their of. However, Wednesday night he proved us wrong, pulled out all the stops, and crafted a design that nearly got us a point at the Ethiad.

For that, we should respectively give credit where credit is due.