October 16, 2014

A winless start in his opening two fixtures probably isn't what new Southampton boss Claude Puel had in mind when he took the job. Gunning for that thus far elusive first three-point result, the French manager hopes it will come on home soil against Sunderland on Saturday.

Puel did well to guide Ligue 1 side Nice into a Champions League place, but seems to have quickly discovered just how different the Premier League can be. His side have not played poorly in either match, yet still find themselves with one point. After conceding just nine minutes into their opening fixture with Watford, the Saints did well to rescue a point via a 59th-minute strike from new boy Nathan Redmond.

Last week's effort against a reinvigorated, Jose Mourinho-led Manchester United may cause a few worries. Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored a pair of fantastic goals and the Saints struggled to find themselves after the opening goal in the 36th minute of the 2-0 defeat last Friday.

Still, Puel believed his club could have fared better had they taken their chances.

"We have a lot of regrets, because we had many situations and created some good opportunities, but we didn't take them and score," Puel said. "Perhaps in the first 15 minutes it wasn't good, but after I think we played a good game, with good football and good possibilities.

"We played with quality, good control and good passes and had many situations which is positive, but we needed to take one of them, of course."

Puel hopes lessons learned will pay off this weekend.

"Now we have to correct many details, defencive also," he added. "It's difficult to take this first goal, because we have some situations before Manchester United. "The second goal was also difficult to take just at the start of the second half. It allowed United to play on the counter attack."

Sunderland manager David Moyes hopes his side can at least collect their first point following losses to Manchester City and newly-promoted Middlesbrough. Boro's Cristhian Stuani struck for a first-half brace last week before defender Patrick Van Aanholt pulled one back with 19 minutes to play. Middlesbrough held on for the three points, but Moyes focused on the positives following the match.

"The fans were brilliant," he said. "I hope they understand it's going to take time and we have some problems at the moment that we're trying to make better. The players who came in today because of injuries did a really good job."

Moyes can take some solace in his club's 1-0 win over Shrewsbury Town in the EFL Cup on Wednesday. And the fact they are likely to snag some reinforcement as assistant manager Paul Bracewell revealed former Liverpool loanee Javier Manquillo had his medical the same day.

"Javier Manquillo flew in this afternoon and he's having his medical as we speak, so fingers crossed we can get that one over the line," Bracewell said.

Adnan Januzaj scored the EFL winner in the 83rd minute to give the club some momentum heading back into Premier League action.

"It was a fantastic goal," Bracewell said. "Adnan took it really well turning quickly before hitting it."

The last fixture between the sides resulted in a 1-1 draw with goals from Virgil van Dijk and Jermain Defoe on March 5. The Saints claimed a 1-0 win in November on the strength of a goal from Dusan Tadic.

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