James Ward-Prowse: Southampton captain says -News

Saints captain James Ward-Prowse (centre) is Southampton’s top scorer in the Premier League this season with eight goals

Southampton captain James Ward-Prowse says a “slump in standards” at the club has led to the Saints’ relegation from the Premier League.

It was their 24th defeat of the season – the most in a single season in the club’s history.

“From the first day of pre-season until now, you can tell the standards at the club have slipped,” Ward-Prowse, 28, told BBC Sport.

“We need to go away individually and as a club and assess whether we have done everything we could have done. I don’t think we have and it’s a shame.”

saint Fired long-serving manager Ralf Hasenhütter November and his successor Nathan Jones Three-year deal only lasted three months Before Ruben Selles was installed until the end of the season.

Ward-Prowse added: “I think as a team and as a club we think about the season that’s gone.”

“Was it the right decision? Did we give it our all on the pitch? I think we should have played better than we have.”

The England midfielder believes the club will learn their lesson to bounce back, but says he is “not thinking too far ahead” about his future at St Mary’s, with the summer almost inevitable for his services

“I’ve been here since I was eight and I’ve seen the development of the club, all the ups and downs, the good times and the bad times – it’s been a bad time,” he added.

“But I’m sure the good guys at the club will be back in the Premier League soon. It’s going to be a testing time for everyone, but the club has done it before and I’m sure it will do it again”

‘The Saints may need a cleanup’

However, Ward-Prowse admits relegation is “on the horizon” amid a challenging game, with BBC Sport pundits Martin Keown and Anita Assante concerned about how difficult it will be for the Saints to bounce back.

Former Arsenal and England defender Keown told BBC Final Score: “It’s a proud record for Southampton to get players into the academy, but it’s not enough – they might need a clearing.”

Dragan Solak, Henrik Kraft and Rasmus Ankersen bought Chinese businessman Gao Jisheng's 80 per cent stake in Southampton 15 months ago
Dragan Solak, Henrik Kraft and Rasmus Ankersen bought Chinese businessman Gao Jisheng’s 80 per cent stake in Southampton 15 months ago

“You look at the teams that come back from the Championship and they have a core. What is the core of this Southampton team? Will Ward-Prowse stay?

“It’s going to be difficult. There’s a lot of games in the Championship and it’s going to be Southampton’s toughest season ever.

“They need to bounce back quickly when the parachute payments are in place.”

Former England defender Assante believes the Saints have paid a price not only for bad decisions this season, but also for wider recent history.

She added: “It’s been a long time, not just this season – both transfer windows have been terrible.”

Southampton, which is taken over by Sport Republic in January 2022, issued a statement on behalf of investors Dragan Solak, Rasmus Ankersen and Henrik Kraft after the relegation was confirmed.

“We want to assure our supporters, our partners and our staff that we remain fully committed at a high level to the long-term success of the club,” it said.

“We must now reflect on the lessons we have learned from this season and start preparing for the challenges we face in the Championship.

“Our aim is to get back to the Premier League as soon as possible and make sure we stay there.

“We know that significant improvements are needed and at the end of the season we will announce our next steps and provide details of how the club will operate in the future.”

“If anyone is responsible for this, it’s me” – Seles

Saints win two of first three games under interim owner Seles he took office in february But then eight losses in an 11-game winless run saw them relegated to the second tier.

Long before he took over, however, they were in relegation straits and had been in the bottom three since Hasenhertl was sacked and replaced by Seles’ predecessor Jones in November.

but the Spaniards, who Briefly lift Saints off the table Following his victory over Leicester in March, he rejected any notion that the damage had been done before his reign began.

“I don’t make excuses like that – when I took over I was sure I could get this team out of relegation but I didn’t and I was the first person responsible for this game,” he told Match of the day.

“From the beginning I thought we could do it – so if anyone is responsible for the last three months it’s me.”

Southampton have lost at least seven games under three different managers in the league – eight out of 14 under Hasenhuttl, seven out of eight under Jones and seven under Seles. Lost nine of 14 games.

Seles added: “There’s more than one reason – the one thing we didn’t find during the season was enough togetherness, not enough trust in each other.”

“It’s not just about a player or a coach, it’s about our relationship.”

Like Ward-Prowse, Seles’ future at the club is unclear, but he insists: “With or without me, this club is strong enough to bounce back immediately.”

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