...two steps back.
We don't play again in the Premier League until Monday. It was the chance to both gain entry to the quarter-finals of a cup competition and also give the new-look team more time to gel and work together as a unit.
To that end, it disappointed me to see the line-up against Leeds. Eleven changes. I understand that this is a squad game, but we came off the pitch on Sunday having had a very good 45 minutes. For me the team that ended that game should have started at Elland Road.
There is nothing we need more right now than a run of games for our new goalkeeper and centre-half combination. Perhaps we could have given a few of the midfield/forward players a rest, but 11 changes was suicidal.
Artur Boruc was seemingly left out of the squad due to his goal-line altercation with a section of supporters in the Chapel Stand. If he is found guilty of this then he should be punished, but let's look at the bigger picture. Boruc, it would appear, has been signed to be first choice, but he is unfit and lacks match sharpness. In short, he needs games, so why not play him last night and discipline him afterwards? Likewise, Fonte and Yoshida need as much time getting used to each other as possible.
The obvious benefits of making such changes is that the 'fringe' players get a chance to push for their position. And how many of them did that on Tuesday night?
To quote Robbie Fowler, the vocabulary-lacking match analyst, Saints were, he kept reminding us, "awful". Terrible? Pathetic? Woeful? Come on, Robbie - you are live on the telly!
So do we have a problem with desire at the club? I was worried that Adkins may have lost the dressing room, but the second half against Spurs, or so I thought, had dispelled that. Last night, 11 players took to the pitch and got outplayed and outfought by a Championship side. They barely registered a shot on goal.
We should know as well as anybody that winning breeds confidence. Tuesday night was an opportunity to get some much needed belief into the side that goes to West Brom on Monday - an opportunity missed.
We can dissect tactics, player selections and player desire until the cows come home, but there is the worrying air of a losing mentality at the club again and that is the biggest problem. Some people are calling for Saints to revert to 4-4-2 but sadly football isn't that simple and a change of formation is not going to instantly solve all of our problems.
We are the proverbial rabbit in the headlights at the moment. Something has to give. At the end of the day, the Capital Cup was never going to be a priority competition for Saints, but it does not excuse such a lacklustre and "awful" exit.
We can turn this around. I still think we have the squad to do so, but it has to start now.
Keep the faith.
...two steps back.