Adkins has cause to celebrate
Hughton reflects on the difference in quality of finishing at St Mary's
Last Updated: September 18, 2011 8:30pm
Nigel Adkins had three causes for celebration as Southampton crushed Birmingham City 4-1 at St Mary's as Chris Hughton reflected on the difference in quality of finishing.
Sunday's game marked a year in charge of Saints for Adkins, who was securing his 100th win as a manager as the club moved to the top of the Championship table.
Goals from Rickie Lambert, Guly do Prado, Adam Lallana and Richard Chaplow made it 13 consecutive home wins and Saints' best start to a season in 103 years.
Saints were lying 22nd in League One when Adkins replaced Alan Pardew 12 months ago this week, and with 38 wins from 54 matches the former Scunthorpe boss has turned them into serious contenders for back-to-back promotions.
However, in contrast to last season, Adkins is making a point of not talking up his side's chances, saying: "It's pleasing at any stage to be top but the important time is at the end of the season.
"We'll look at the table in January and hope we are in the top 10, but there are 15 or 16 teams with aspirations to get promotion.
"The table will change a lot and we know there is a hell of a lot of work to do.
"We are very ambitious. But we are also very respectful of a very hard division with lots of teams all trying to get to the next level.
"We haven't played 10 games yet, there is a long way to go and everyone is well aware of that.
"The records are nice for the club and the history books and it's my 100th win as a manager. I'd have been pleased just to manage 100 games."
Saints were gifted the lead after 10 minutes when Steven Caldwell leant on Lambert in the area and referee Dean Whitestone pointed to the spot.
Blues manager Hughton branded the decision "soft", but Lambert crashed the penalty in off the post and the hosts did not look back.
They doubled their lead 10 minutes later when Frazer Richardson teed up Brazilian forward Guly and the third goal, in the 34th minute, was almost a carbon copy with Richardson cutting the ball back for Lallana to tuck away.
Chris Wood, Birmingham's best player, cut the deficit with a free-kick just after the interval and Stephen Carr hit the post as the visitors, without an away win since February, briefly threatened a comeback.
But Saints wrapped up the victory 12 minutes from time when Lallana played in substitute Chaplow for number four.
"We contributed to our own downfall in first half," said Hughton.
"The penalty gave them the momentum. I'm not taking anything away from the second and third goals, though.
"They were disappointing goals to concede from our point of view. The quality of the finishing was the difference between the teams."