Che Adams: Southampton forward on maintaining inner belief

Watch Southampton host Sheffield United on the final day of the Premier League season this Sunday, live on Sky Sports Mix from 3pm; Kick-off 4pm

Southampton forward Che Adams

Adams arrived at St Mary's last summer on a five-year deal from Birmingham City for £15m with high expectations for his potential impact at the Saints after a long-held interest from the club.

However, his hopes for an instant impact in England's top-tier proved tough going as Southampton struggled to produce their best in the first half to the season, during which manager Ralph Hasenhuttl's tenure was under pressure.

Adams was an unused substitute when the side were beaten 9-0 at home against Leicester on October 25 and he says the club have done an "amazing job" to overcome their slow start to head into the final match against Sheffield United assured of finishing no lower than 12th.

Southampton's form since the Premier League restart

Date Opposition Result
June 19 Norwich 3-0
June 25 Arsenal 0-2
June 28 Watford 3-1
July 5 Manchester City 1-0
July 9 Everton 1-1
July 13 Manchester United 2-2
July 16 Brighton 1-1
July 19 Bournemouth 2-0

"Considering the start of the season where we got off to a rocky start we have managed to pull it back now and everyone can see how much better and tight knit as a squad we look," Adams tells Sky Sports News.

A run of just two league defeats in 10 matches from late November to mid-January, including an away victory against Leicester, saw Southampton climb the table and ease fears of relegation.

"We are just glad that we came out of it really," he says. "I have been in many of those relegation fights and they are not nice at all.

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"As a team, as players we knew we were good enough to hold our own and get up the table and we have shown that."

Highlights from Southampton and Man City 2:59
Watch highlights as Che Adams' brilliant goal secure a surprise win against Manchester City earlier this month

But it has been a six-game unbeaten run since lockdown, during which Hasenhuttl signed a new four-year contract in June, that has impressed onlookers, including Adams' long-awaited first goal for the club.

The strike - a sublime long-range effort which sailed over the head of Manchester City's stranded goalkeeper - secured a 1-0 victory over Pep Guardiola's side on July 5 at an empty St Mary's.

"It was a special moment to be honest," Adams reflects. "A shame there was no one in the ground to celebrate with us.

"To hold and get the three points was massive and the way we defended was at another level."

Adams, who has since added a second goal of the campaign in the 2-0 win at Bournemouth last weekend, admits the moment of ending his barren run in front of goal will live long in the memory.

"Many of my goals I can't remember what I felt like at the time," he adds. "It was just pure excitement really, just living in the moment."

"When you hear how much the guys were celebrating him as he went into the dressing room, then you know how happy they are he scored"
Ralph Hasenhuttl on Che Adams' first goal for the club

The Englishman is honest enough to recall the testing period earlier in the season, in which he believes he put "unnecessary pressure" on himself, and concedes the chances he missed "still haunt him to this day", but he pays great credit to the support his teammates and the club staff continued to offer him.

"It was definitely tough but the lads around me were great helping me, just talking to me and giving me belief and as a striker I think [self-belief] is what you need," he says.

Che Adams celebrates his late goal to wrap up the points
Image: Adams celebrates his late goal against Bournemouth last Sunday to wrap up three points
pl 2:58
Southampton made it their fourth victory since the restart with a 2-0 away win at Bournemouth

"The guys were great, keeping the faith with me. The manager and all the staff and everyone around the club, including the fans. It was nice to feel at home and wanted really."

One teammate who Adams holds in particular high regard is striker Danny Ings, with the former Liverpool player's 21-goal tally just two behind Jamie Vardy in the Golden Boot race.

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"He has been amazing on and off the pitch really," Adams says. "He is just a great guy to have around the training ground.

"It is no surprise how many goals he has got because in training he is unbelievable. Everything that he does, everything that he touches… he just oozes confidence. It is nice to see.

Image: Danny Ings has enjoyed a prolific season for Southampton

Asked whether Ings has proved a good sounding board, he adds: "He has definitely helped me to learn on the pitch because he is just a great footballer. Everyone is delighted that he has helped us in tough times and he is reaping the rewards now."

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Adams is confident Southampton can build on the momentum of their performances since the restart last month and hopefully look to challenge for European qualification during the 2020/21 campaign after a shortened break in-between seasons.

"The manager has set his sights on what he wants to achieve next year and as a team we trust in everything he says.

"As a team we are much better collectively now and we are all on the same page now as in where want to go and take this [momentum]. Who knows what we can do."

Sunday July 26: The final day fixtures in the Premier League

Arsenal vs Watford - 4pm kick-off, Live on Sky Sports Premier League

Burnley vs Brighton - 4pm kick-off, Live on Sky Sports Arena

Chelsea vs Wolves - 4pm kick-off, Live on Sky Sports Football

Crystal Palace vs Tottenham - 4pm kick-off, Live on Sky Sports Action

Everton vs Bournemouth - 4pm kick-off, Live on Sky Sports Golf

Leicester vs Man Utd - 4pm kick-off, Live on Sky Sports Main Event

Man City vs Norwich - 4pm kick-off, Live on Sky Sports Pick and Sky One

Newcastle vs Liverpool - 4pm kick-off, Full Time highlights live on Sky Sports Digital

Southampton vs Sheffield United - 4pm kick-off, Live on Sky Sports Mix

West Ham vs Aston Villa - 4pm kick-off, Full Time highlights live on Sky Sports Digital

Free-to-watch highlights from every game on the final day of the top-flight season will be made available on the Sky Sports website and Sky Sports App shortly after the final whistle of the Premier League 2019/20 campaign.

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