EPLForeign Legion

Joe Aribo’s performance hailed by Southampton boss despite Palace loss

Joe Aribo has been hailed by Southampton boss Ruben Selles for his performance in the Saints 0-2 loss to Crystal Palace on Saturday April 15.

The Nigerian Midfielder was named in the starting XI for his first Southampton appearance in two months.

Selles elected to trust Aribo in the strikers role ahead of his compatriot Paul Onuachu and other natural forwards.

Southampton had a lively first half but failed to score at St Mary’s. Palace then made them pay in the second period as Eberechi Eze struck twice in 14 minutes to hand Roy Hodgson his third win in as many games since his return to the club.

Despite the loss which further dampens their survival hopes, Selles was positive about the performance In his post match interview and revealed the team will fight to end.

Selles and Southampton are facing a crunch relegation battle.

On why Aribo was named in the starting XI, Selles said “I saw what I want. I saw a player that was in the front and that understood the pressure that we wanted to do and that was making a big effort with his physicality and playing in the area we call the rest zone between the lines, creating the four against three for us.

“He was getting some touches and running into the final third and supporting the team. So yeah, I saw it and I think he has been working really hard, really good to be back on the team.

” Samuel Edozie was also there. I have no problem with the players if they are working hard, and they are showing me that they really want to do it and make decisions and to bring them back even if they were not in the squad for the last game.”

Aribo did not get clear-cut goal-scoring opportunities on Saturday afternoon but was instrumental to the Saints attacking moves with his movement and physicality reason Selles did not regret the decision to play without a natural striker.

” No, I don’t think it will make any difference (playing with a natural striker), ” Selles added.

” Because the way that we are arriving in the chances doesn’t indicate that we need another striker.

” Joe Aribo is a striker that played as a striker in the final of the Europa League last year. So that’s why we chose him today to play in those spaces. And I think he helped us a lot in many different phases of the game.

Joe Aribo started last seasons UEFA Europa League final as a striker for Glasgow Rangers and scored the opening goal.

” We arrived at the situation but we didn’t make it. And unfortunately when they arrive in our box, they made it, ” he concluded.

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