Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg says Southampton’s players must show on the pitch that they are truly sorry for the 9-0 humiliation against Leicester, starting with two daunting trips to Manchester City.
Captain Hojbjerg has apologised and vowed to prevent a repeat of the heaviest defeat in the south coast club’s 134-year history, while manager Ralph Hasenhuttl took full responsibility for Friday evening’s debacle.
Saints’ desire to make immediate amends for the drubbing will be anything but easy as they face Pep Guardiola’s City in the Carabao Cup fourth round on Tuesday before returning to the Etihad Stadium in the Premier League on Saturday.
Midfielder Hojbjerg, who is unconcerned by the quality of opposition, believes talk is cheap and producing vastly improved performances is the only way to atone for the embarrassment against the Foxes.
“If there is one saying it’s, ‘Tough periods make tough people’,” said Hojbjerg, according to the Southern Daily Echo.
“I can try and say something, but it won’t change anything. I don’t want to speak, I want to show by action.
“I don’t care who is coming up. Our actions have to speak.
“We never want to be in this position again or anywhere near it. We have to get back up and make sure this never happens again.
“We can put quotes out, apologise and say something, but the only thing that’s the real deal now is actions.
“Actions that are nowhere near what they were against Leicester. We can never show our faces like this again.”
Southampton’s first-team players and coaching staff will each donate one day’s wages to the Saints Foundation after capitulating to the joint worst loss of the Premier League era.
Boss Hasenhuttl says his team cannot dwell on the Leicester fiasco and need to concentrate “entire energy” on Guardiola’s reigning champions and League Cup holders.
“After this, no more talking from us, no more messages – the time for that is over,” he said in a message posted on the club Twitter account.
“Our only focus is working towards Manchester City.
“This is where we must direct our entire energy, and this is what we owe to our fans.”
Saints have not won away to City for more than 15 years.
Their most recent victory came in April 2004 when a goal from James Beattie and Kevin Phillips’ second-half double secured a 3-1 success over Kevin Keegan’s hosts.
Left-back Ryan Bertrand begins a three-match ban following his sending off against Leicester, while full-back Cedric Soares (calf) and winger Moussa Djenepo (hip/thigh) are not expected to return.
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