Everton v Southampton preview: Saints will not be complacent, says Mark Hughes
Last Updated: 06/05/18 7:36am
Southampton manager Mark Hughes insists his relegation-threatened side will not be complacent when they take on Everton at Goodison Park on Saturday.
Southampton secured a massive boost in their bid for safety by beating local rivals Bournemouth last weekend.
The victory was just their second in 22 league matches and was greeted with jubilant celebrations at St Mary's.
Hughes thinks the relief of last Saturday has raised morale on the south coast, but insists it will not lead to complacency with three crucial fixtures remaining.
"I don't think we'll fall into the trap of thinking that we got the job done last weekend because we haven't. Nowhere near it," said Hughes.
"It was a moment in time where we felt that emotion. I think everyone in the stadium felt that emotion and there was an outpouring but I felt it wasn't a bad thing.
"It brought everyone closer, it brought our fans closer to the team and maybe that distance had started to increase over the course of the season.
"For all the emotion that we saw and the fact we were able to at long last please our supporters we have to do it again and we don't want to disappoint our fans by losing at Everton."
In-form opponents Everton sit eighth following just one defeat in seven games, a run which has included four victories, and boss Sam Allardyce is pleased with the quality of performance they have produced in that period.
"It's an entertainment game, you're trying to capture hearts and minds," Allardyce said.
"I think, particularly from a home point of view, that we've achieved that, not just with the results, but the way we've played and the way we've beaten teams.
"Whether the criticism is fair or not, it's something you can't let affect you.
"You have to stay internally within the bounds of what you want to achieve and focus on that, and try and make everybody happy."
Everton will be without Dominic Calvert-Lewin for Southampton's visit this weekend after the forward suffered a small stress fracture in his back, meaning he will miss the final two games of the season.
Defender Mason Holgate has returned to training after an ankle injury, but this game will come too soon, while James McCarthy (broken leg), Gylfi Sigurdsson and Eliaquim Mangala (both knee) remain long-term absentees.
Meanwhile, Southampton have no fresh injury concerns, but remain without captain Steven Davis for their trip to Goodison.
Midfielder Davis, who last featured on April 19, has an Achilles problem and could miss the rest of the season.
Winger Sofiane Boufal is unlikely to be involved following his recent dispute with manager Mark Hughes.
Everton have lost just one of their 18 previous Premier League home games against Southampton (W13 D4), losing 0-2 in November 1997.
Indeed, the 1997-98 campaign was the last time Saints did the league double against the Toffees, also beating them 2-1 at the Dell.
The side playing at home has only lost one of the last 17 league meetings between these sides (W11 D5), with Everton picking up a 3-0 victory at St Mary's in August 2015.
Everton have not won three consecutive Premier League games since January 2017.
Southampton are looking to secure back-to-back Premier League victories for the first time since April 2017, when they beat Crystal Palace and West Brom.
Away from home, Saints have won just twice in the Premier League this season (D7 L8), with both victories coming against the side starting that day bottom of the table (1-0 at Crystal Palace in September, 3-2 at West Brom in February).
I think Everton supporters sometimes are not really bothered if they win and they're confused about what they want, getting fed up with the passing game and they haven't wanted Sam Allardyce from the moment he walked in.
What I saw was a lot of fight from Mark Hughes' team last weekend and I think Southampton's desperation and determination will see them get a vital victory here.
Charlie predicts: 1-2 (9/1 with Sky Bet)