x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Pressure mounts on Southampton manager Adkins after 2-0 defeat to West Bromwich Albion

A brace from Peter Odemwingie moved West Bromwich Albion up to fifth place in the English Premier League - and heaped more pressure on Nigel Adkins, the under-fire Southampton coach.

West Brom striker Peter Odemwingie celebrates with Youssuf Mulumbu and Billy Jones after scoring against Southampton.
West Brom striker Peter Odemwingie celebrates with Youssuf Mulumbu and Billy Jones after scoring against Southampton.

Under-fire Nigel Adkins admits he should be favourite to get the sack because of Southampton's precarious English Premier League position - but has pleaded not to be given "the dreaded vote of confidence".

Southampton remain bottom after a brace from Peter Odemwingie secured a 2-0 win for West Bromwich Albion last night.

Odemwingie and the tireless Shane Long posed plenty of problems up front while Youssouf Mulumbu controlled the midfield.

Albion fans taunted Adkins, who has led Southampton to successive promotions, with chants of 'you're getting sacked in the morning'.

Adkins' side has collected just four points from of a possible 30 and conceded 28 goals - the worst defensive record in the top flight.

"I don't think anybody needs to give anyone a vote of confidence because if you do, then we all turn around and say, 'he's got the dreaded vote of confidence'," he said after the match.

"We need to win and I believe we can do it. I'm very proud and privileged to be the Southampton manager. I'll stand out and lead from the front as I've always done.

"I'm very positive. I know I'm a better manager today than when I joined Southampton. I know I've improved a lot.

"But someone is always going to be the favourite [to be sacked], and if you're bottom of the league, well, you should be the favourite probably.

"I'm not going to hide away from that. But what a great challenge we face."

Adkins insists he will remain positive about the battle ahead to survive in the top flight.

He said: "We're going to embrace it with positivity. If I don't believe we can do it, then the players aren't going to believe we can do it.

"We've played eight of the top 10. I'm looking forward to the fixtures we've got coming up."

Rickie Lambert had the first attempt on goal and his low drive from a narrow angle contained plenty of power but was held onto by West Brom keeper Ben Foster.

But the Nigeria international broke the deadlock in controversial fashion in the 36th minute.

The impressive Mulumbu released Odemwingie whose left-footed shot contained plenty of power but took a deflection off Maya Yoshida as it flew past Southampton keeper Paulo Gazzaniga.

But TV replays also showed that Odemwingie had appeared to handle the ball in the build-up.

Southampton started the second half on the offensive and a shot on the turn from Lambert struck the bar with Foster well beaten.

But after 60 minutes Odemwingie doubled West Bromwich Albion's lead with a clinical finish.

Left-back Liam Ridgewell's long pass found Long who held the ball up, cut inside and floated over an inviting centre which Odemwingie headed home from close range.

The result moves West Bromwich Albion up to fifth place, but Steve Clarke is refusing to get carried away with a points tally of 17 from the first 10 games.

"It was just important to get back on track tonight," he said afterwards. "The performance was OK. It wasn't exceptional but OK.

"We had good control of the game, especially in the second half. We didn't look under too much threat and always looked like we could score on the counter-attack."

"If we hadn't won tonight, the league starts to tighten up and you always have to be careful in the Premier League.

"Once you get complacent and setting your sights too high, it's got a habit of coming back to bite you. We won't do that."

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