Adkins: Uncharacteristically flat performance contributed to Sunderland defeat

The Saints manager believes his side's failure to fire in front of goal sealed their fate once the Black Cats took the lead through Steven Fletcher in the 42nd minute
Southampton manager Nigel Adkins says his side simply did not produce enough in the attacking third to take anything from their clash with relegation rivals Sunderland.

The home side produced a lifeless display and after falling behind to Steven Fletcher's 42nd minute opener, never looked too likely to grab an equaliser.

"It just didn't happen for us today," he told the official club website. "It was uncharacteristically flat from us, and unfortunately we didn't score any goals.
"I changed it around early doors in the second half because we'd gone behind and we were chasing the game, but unfortunately we've not gone and done it.
"We've scored a lot of goals this season and today for me, for whatever reason uncharacteristically, it just didn't happen for us."

Without the injured Adam Lallana, Adkins handed Zambia striker Emmanuel Mayuka a start alongside Ricky Lambert but the summer signing failed to fire and was withdrawn shortly after half-time.

"We started with Emmanuel Mayuka today as well and one of the big reasons for that was so that we could get in behind them," Adkins explained.
"We'll have to analyse why we didn't to do that, why we didn't find the pass and why the run wasn't there I don't know, but we wanted to create some space for ourselves, and play between the lines.

"For me, we didn't get the flow that we normally do, and we didn't get as many crosses in which is something that we highlighted before the game."

However, Adkins was reluctant to put the cause of the poor performance solely on missing skipper Lallana, insisting that the rest of the team need to contribute.

"It can't be about one player," he continued. "Every team is going to have players that are missing so you've got to have a strong enough group of players so that if one is missing, then they go and contribute, so who's to say that if Adam had been playing that it would have been any different?
"We can't just turn around and go we've lost because of one player we've lost the game because of the result.
"We played Gaston Ramirez on that left hand side to start with and he plays there for Uruguay which he does very well, so we've got a talented player whose gone and played in a position that Adam would have done.
"We started him wide to try and get him in the pockets and get Emmanuel running in behind him on the shoulder to stretch the game."

Despite the defeat, Southampton remain outside the relegation zone, above Wigan on goal difference, with away fixtures at Fulham and Stoke to come before the end of 2012.