Friend was right to keep the game flow­ing be­fore con­sult­ing VAR

The Sunday Telegraph - Sport - - Sam Wallace - Elite and the Pre­mier

play­ers as those they have now.

Puel’s ob­ses­sion with pos­ses­sion un­der­mined that ap­proach and Pel­le­grino’s reluc­tance to at­tack teams as Saints did in their most suc­cess­ful sea­sons is part of the rea­son why he leaves with more draws than any other Pre­mier League club.

Marco Silva was the only vi­able al­ter­na­tive to Hughes but the club never pur­sued it se­ri­ously once they had con­sid­ered his ref­er­ences. Silva’s fail­ure to put Ever­ton off ear­lier in the sea­son when they courted him has dam­aged his stand­ing be­yond just the sack­ing at Wat­ford. With a cou­ple of no­table ex­cep­tions, Hughes outscored Silva heav­ily when it came to his for­mer em­ploy­ers and that he comes with such ex­pe­ri­enced staff, in Mark Bowen and Ed­die Niedzwiecki, was also an at­trac­tion.

If any­thing the hope is that Southamp­ton un­der Hughes will be braver than at any point in the last two sea­sons, and not suc­cumb to the more con­ser­va­tive in­stincts that of­ten grip a club threat­ened by rel­e­ga­tion. The in­vest­ment in Ar­gen­tine striker Guido Car­rillo for a club record £19mil­lion was in­tended to give Pel­le­grino that op­tion. Un­til now the club say that the money al­ways goes back into the play­ing squad. The wage bill has risen by £48mil­lion in the four sea­sons up to 2016-2017 with an­other up­lift likely in the next re­sults. Southamp­ton have al­ways been re­luc­tant to revel in a rep­u­ta­tion as the great play­ing trad­ing club of the Pre­mier League be­cause they al­ways felt that there would be sea­sons like this one when the sys­tem did not work as it has in the past. They have in­vested in the academy and in their train­ing ground sports science fa­cil­i­ties in re­cent years, and there are still young play­ers com­ing through, like Josh Sims, al­beit fewer than be­fore.

The Southamp­ton way – academy graduates, shrewd sign­ings, at­tack­ing foot­ball, big sales – has never been un­der pres­sure like it is now. They trust in their sys­tem, and in the choices that have led them to ap­point Hughes un­til the end of the sea­son. There are no re­grets about all those play­ers sold over the last four years ei­ther, a re­al­ity that Southamp­ton will al­ways have to live with as long as they are suc­cess­ful.

It was the cor­rect video as­sis­tant ref­eree de­ci­sion to dis­al­low Son He­ung-min’s goal against Swansea City. His knee was off­side even if his feet were level and it is those kinds of calls that, as pun­dit Glenn Hod­dle said at half-time, VAR was de­signed to get cor­rect.

Un­for­tu­nately, the tele­vi­sion pic­tures did not keep pace this time and there were many who felt that VAR had got it wrong.

The ref­eree Kevin Friend was right to let the game run on and for Son’s shot to cross the line so that if his as­sis­tant’s de­ci­sion had been over­ruled by VAR the goal could have been given.

In that re­spect, goal­keep­ers and de­fend­ers have to re­mem­ber that a flag raised in their pe­riph­eral vi­sion is not an in­sur­ance pol­icy against any sub­se­quent goal be­ing given and they have to try to make the tackle or save. All in all, it is not that hard.

They trust in their sys­tem and that led them to ap­point Hughes

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