Southampton must give better service to forwards, says Oriol Romeu

Southampton midfielder Oriol Romeu accepts Saints will have to create more chances for the likes of Danny Ings after they suffered an opening-day defeat at Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Wilfried Zaha scored the only goal in south London after 13 minutes when he volleyed home a cross from Andros Townsend to hand the Eagles a 1-0 win.

The visitors dictated possession at Selhurst Park and yet failed to test home goalkeeper Vicente Guaita in the first half.

It was a different story after the break, with Che Adams and Ings brilliantly denied by the Spanish stopper, but Southampton’s own Spaniard is aware they must do more for their strikers going forward.

Romeu told the official club website: “We would’ve deserved something if we had taken our chances, but we didn’t, so that’s something we have to get better at.

“We probably need to give the strikers more options, more chances to score those goals and by playing the whole game as we did in the second half.”

It ensured there was disappointment for the south-coast club on the first day, and the frustration was compounded by the fact Southampton concluded the 2019-20 campaign with a seven-match unbeaten run that contained four wins.

“At the end of last season it was very positive,” Romeu admitted.

“Pre-season has gone very well as well, but I think in the first half they felt good in what they were doing and we couldn’t move the ball quickly enough to create chances.

“We had to change things up and we did that at half-time – trying to put more balls in behind, playing more through the lines and trying to hurt them a little bit more and putting them more under pressure.

“I think we had some chances in the second half, but unfortunately we couldn’t take any.”

Palace were without five defenders, so midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate had to partner Scott Dann at centre-back.

The pair impressed in a back four which included 21-year-old Tyrick Mitchell, who made just his third start for his boyhood club.

“He is a top player,” Dann said of Kouyate. “He can play midfield and showed what he is capable of in the back four. He’s been playing like that since the end of last season.

“It was a good defensive performance from the front all the way through. Everyone put a shift in and the goalkeeper made some saves at the important times.”

Meanwhile, forward Alexander Sorloth looks to have played his last game for Crystal Palace, the PA news agency understands.

The Norwegian joined Trabzonspor on a two-year loan deal last summer and enjoyed an excellent debut season in the Super Lig.

Sorloth only scored once in 20 appearances for the Eagles after he signed in January 2018 from FC Midtjylland, but netted 24 times in the league for the Turkish outfit, who have the option to make his move permanent.

While discussions are under way between Palace and Trabzonspor over the loan agreement, the Super Lig club revealed on Saturday the 24-year-old has failed to return from international duty on time and will be disciplined.

In a statement from the Trabzon-based team, it was also confirmed RB Leipzig have submitted a bid for Sorloth and the Norway striker is expected to complete a move to the Bundesliga side before the transfer window ends on October 5.

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