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Southampton vs Fulham. Premier League.

St. Mary's StadiumAttendance28,978.

Southampton 0

    Fulham 2

    • C Alves Morais (48th minute)
    • A Mitrovic (72nd minute)

    Southampton 0-2 Fulham: Carlos Vinicius and Aleksandar Mitrovic strike to seal Saints' relegation

    Report and free match highlights as Southampton suffer seventh defeat in eight games to confirm their relegation from the Premier League; second-half goals from Carlos Vinicius and Aleksandar Mitrovic seal Saints' fate

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    FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from the clash between Southampton and Fulham

    Southampton's 11-year spell in the Premier League ended with a whimper as second-half goals from Carlos Vinicius' and Aleksandar Mitrovic secured a first-ever league double for Fulham over their opponents at St Mary's.

    With the fourth lowest home xG of the season - 0.25 - Southampton mustered just one shot on target as their top-flight stay ended in tame fashion.

    The visitors took the lead in the 48th minute when Vinicius tapped home unmarked after Harrison Reed's sliding challenge on Lyanco diverted the ball across goal.

    Carlos Alcaraz thought he had broken the deadlock just 57 seconds earlier but his effort was ruled out for offside.

    Mitrovic was a second-half substitute for Fulham on his return from an eight-game ban and just six minutes after his introduction, the Serbia striker rose to meet Harry Wilson's cross to compound Southampton's despair.

    Kicking off eight points shy of safety, the hosts needed a win to keep any faint hopes alive - but there was an air of resignation among home supporters, who were heading for the exits long before the final whistle.

    Carlos Vinicius celebrates his close range strike
    Image: Carlos Vinicius celebrates his close-range strike

    Lowest home xG total of season

    Team Opponent Date Expected Goals
    Leicester City Arsenal 25/02/2023 0.02
    Fulham Manchester City 30/04/2023 0.19
    Crystal Palace Manchester City 11/03/2023 0.21
    Southampton Fulham 13/05/2023 0.25

    A hefty rebuild is going to be necessary and one that is far more focused than the calamitous January transfer window in which six players were signed but to very little effect.

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    "It's disappointing but it's a moment that has been coming," said captain James Ward-Prowse, who has made 407 appearances for Southampton. "We'd put ourselves in a difficult position and I thought we did well to take it to this stage of the season.

    "When these sorts of things happen, you go away individually and as a club and reflect on whether we did everything we could to achieve our goal. I don't think we have and that's a shame as I feel it is about having no regrets and leaving everything out there.

    "Over the course of the season that has caught up with us. Ultimately that's why we are where we are now."

    Fulham's seventh away win of the Premier League season moves them up to ninth in the table and on track for a first top-half finish since 2012.

    Player ratings

    Southampton: McCarthy (6), Maitland-Niles (5), Bednarek (6), Lyanco (5), Walker-Peters (5), Stuart Armstrong (5), Ward-Prowse (6), Lavia (6), Onuachu (5), Alcaraz (5), Walcott (6).

    Subs: Mara (n/a), Djenepo (5), Sulemana (5), Elyounoussi (n/a), Adam Armstrong (n/a).

    Fulham: Leno (6), Tete (7), Adarabioyo (7), Diop (7), Antonee Robinson (7), Joao Palhinha (7), Reed (8), Wilson (7), Willian (6), Cairney (7), Vinicius (7).

    Subs: Kebano (n/a), Mitrovic (7), Solomon (n/a), Reid (6), Lukic (n/a).

    Player of the match: Harrison Reed.

    How Saints' fate was sealed

    Carlos Vinicius celebrates putting Fulham 1-0 ahead at Southampton
    Image: Carlos Vinicius celebrates putting Fulham 1-0 ahead

    When Southampton were last relegated from the Premier League in 2004/05, it took them seven years to win promotion back to the top flight - and that was via League One.

    Championship football for the first time since 2012 looked a foregone conclusion after failure to beat Nottingham Forest last weekend.

    Team news

    • Bottom club Southampton hosted Fulham needing to win to keep alive their slender survival hopes. Saints boss Ruben Selles made two enforced changes, with defender Lyanco and striker Paul Onuachu coming in for injured pair Armel Bella-Kothcap and Che Adams.
    • Aleksandar Mitrovic returned to Fulham's bench after completing an eight-match ban as Marco Silva stuck with the starting XI which began Monday's 5-3 victory over Leicester.

    Saints fans have had this sinking feeling for some time. They have been bottom for all but seven days since Christmas, stationed inside the bottom three since early November.

    There was a sense of defeatism in the air despite Fulham's rather anodyne dominance. The visitors, chasing a first win away to Southampton since the 1930s, saw a handball appeal waved away by referee Thomas Bramall after Wilson's cross struck Lyanco.

    James Ward-Prowse tries to keep pace with Harry Wilson as Fulham go on the attack against Southampton
    Image: James Ward-Prowse tries to keep pace with Harry Wilson

    Before the break, another well-worked move involving Wilson and Reed led to Willian's shot at the far post being cleared off the line by Lyanco. By contrast, Saints offered virtually nothing.

    This was supposed to be Southampton's final stand, a last Saints salute in defiance, but one supporter was seen asleep in his seat, mercilessly interrupted by the sound of the half-time whistle.

    Antonee Robinson in action against Southampton
    Image: Antonee Robinson in action against Southampton

    According to the stats gurus at FiveThirtyEight, Southampton had a less than one per cent chance of survival heading into the weekend - but the light was put out three minutes after the restart.

    Wilson spotted the run of Reed, and the industrious midfielder outfoxed Lyanco with his clearance as the sliding challenge deflected kindly for Vinicius to tap home a third goal in four games.

    Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who was in attendance for King Charles III's coronation last weekend, was in the stands, but the Southampton resident witnessed a very contrasting mood. From joyous celebration to a wake.

    Mitrovic replaced Vinicius just after the hour mark and just six minutes later, the striker showed no signs of rustiness as he outmuscled Kyle Walker-Peters to direct his header from Wilson's cross beyond Alex McCarthy.

    It has been a disastrous season for Southampton, from the sacking of Ralph Hasenhuttl to the employment of Nathan Jones to drafting in Selles, a charming but rookie manager who has fallen short in his rescue mission.

    Mitrovic salutes the 3,000 travelling Fulham fans
    Image: Aleksandar Mitrovic has scored 12 Premier League goals this season, his outright most in a campaign in the division, surpassing his 11 in 2018-19

    FPL Stats: Southampton 0-2 Fulham

    Goals Vinicius, Mitrovic
    Assists Reed, Wilson
    Bonus points Vinicius (3), Leno, Diop (2)

    Selles: We didn't show enough togetherness

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    Ruben Selles admits his side have not been competitive enough to stay in the Premier League, following his Southampton side having their relegation confirmed against Fulham today.

    Southampton boss Ruben Selles:

    "It is a very tough day - for me, for everybody in the dressing room, for the city, for the fans. It has been a tough season for all of us.

    "We have been fighting not to be relegated from the very beginning and the day came today. I just want to say thank you to everybody for the support we felt from the very first day.

    "It's tough, especially for the fans that have been supporting us for their entire lives. This club has quality enough to bounce back immediately, with or without me, but what we feel now is a very big disappointment."

    "There is not only one reason [for relegation] - but one of the things that we didn't find during the season was enough togetherness, enough trust in each other just to be competitive.

    "We showed it in bits in games like against Chelsea, Arsenal, in the first half against Newcastle but we were not able to be continuously competitive in those moments - we have not been good enough as a team."

    Days spent bottom of Premier League

    • Southampton - 138
    • Leicester/Wolves - 44
    • Nottingham Forest - 32
    • Manchester United - 8
    • West Ham/Bournemouth - 7
    • Crystal Palace - 1

    Silva: We're not finished yet

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    Following a convincing 2-0 win for Fulham over Southampton, that saw their opponents relegated to the Championship, Marco Silva reflects on an increasingly successful season.

    Fulham boss Marco Silva:

    "I want to congratulate the players and the fans. It was great support and the players did well coming away from home with the three points and the clean sheet.

    "It was a warm day, it was difficult and from the first minute, we were the best team on the pitch. We controlled the game until the last minute. We had one or two good chances to score before the 1-0 and then we scored the second.

    "We knew before the match, they [Southampton] were in a difficult situation and it was the last chance for them to keep believing with the supporters behind them but we took the ball from them in the first minute. We played in our style and we have all of the sympathy with them. It's a really difficult moment for Southampton. They are a big club and they will come stronger next season.

    "It shows the quality of our work, the players are always open to learn and improve every single day. It is a good dressing room and we always want to play with our style and philosophy and we have shown our quality, we are not finished yet and we want more."

    Ward-Prowse: We haven't done enough to stay up

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    Michael Dawson believes Southampton deserved to be relegated to the Championship and went out with a 'whimper' in their defeat to Fulham

    Southampton midfielder James Ward-Prowse:

    "Everyone will go away and reflect on the season that's gone by. Have decisions been right? Have we been good enough on the pitch? Have we as a group and as a team done everything we can to progress and perform as we should be?

    "I believe we should be performing at a better level than we have done and ultimately we've not done that on a consistent basis. Over the course, we've not been good enough from the first day of pre-season until now.

    Carlos Vinicius is congratulated by his Fulham team-mates after his goal put them 1-0 up at Southampton
    Image: Vinicius is congratulated by his Fulham team-mates

    "The standards of the football club have slipped away and that's ultimately why we've got relegated. It's hard to get self-belief without results and performances.

    "You also need special moments from individuals and we've not had enough of that this season. That is something that grows with results, and they've not been there all season.

    "I've been on a journey with the club since I was eight years old - I've seen the ups and downs, the good times and the bad. This is a bad time, but I'm sure with the good people at the club it will be back in the Premier League in no time."

    No guarantee of swift return for Southampton

    Southampton have been relegated from the Premier League

    Sky Sports' Ben Grounds:

    Southampton have now lost a club-record 24 league games this term - 12 of which have come at home.

    It is no wonder there were boos which greeted the final whistle and were directed at the players who stood motionless in the centre-circle for a time afterwards by those who had bothered to stay until the bitter end.

    Three managers and £150m spent across two windows has failed to arrest the slide. It is a club that has lost its spark. In truth, the fire burned out long ago.

    Paul Onuachu is yet to score since his move from Genk
    Image: Paul Onuachu is yet to score since his move from Genk

    This club were once the model of best practice. The famed 'black box' of scouting data was overflowing with the next bright thing - from Sadio Mane to Luke Shaw to Virgil van Dijk.

    They must now look to Fulham for inspiration as a club that have made a habit of swift returns.

    Southampton were in need of snookers to survive but Fulham - having made a mockery of those who tipped them as favourites for the drop - eventually made their superiority tell.

    Marco Silva's men are comfortably in the top half, and the Portuguese has now called on his players to surpass the club's record total points tally in a Premier League season, which currently stands at 53. One more win would do it.

    Aleksandar Mitrovic doubled Fulham's advantage
    Image: Mitrovic doubled Fulham's advantage

    What's next?

    Southampton travel to local rivals Brighton next Sunday, kick-off 2pm, before hosting Liverpool on the final day of the season on May 28.

    Fulham's final home game of a memorable season sees them host Crystal Palace in a London derby next Saturday at 3pm, before travelling to Manchester United on the final day of the campaign.

    Saints setting unwanted records - Opta stats

    Southampton were booed off by supporters at full-tim
    Image: Southampton were booed off by supporters at full-time
    • Southampton have been relegated from the Premier League for the first time since the 2004-05 season, and third time from the top-flight overall (also 1973-74). 2022-23 was their 11th consecutive Premier League season.
    • Southampton have now lost more league games this season (24) than in any previous campaign as a Football League/Premier League side. They have lost at least seven times under three different managers in the league this term: Ralph Hasenuüttl (8), Nathan Jones (7), and Ruben Selles (9).
    • With 51 points, 2022-23 is only the fourth time Fulham have earned 50+ points in a Premier League season, after 2003-04 (52), 2008-09 (53), and 2011-12 (52). Their 15 wins this term are now the club's outright most in a Premier League campaign.
    • Fulham's Carlos Vinícius has scored in back-to-back Premier League appearances for the first time, while he has as many goals in his last four games in the competition as he managed in his first 32 beforehand (3).
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