Russell Martin full of admiration for ex-club Swansea after Southampton rout
Southampton manager Russell Martin admitted he took no joy in thrashing old club Swansea 5-0.
Martin took charge of the Swans for two seasons before leaving to join Saints last summer – where he has now overseen a 16-match unbeaten run and seen his side close in on the Championship automatic-promotion places.
The former MK Dons boss, who was making his first reunion with the Swans, did a lap of honour after the match and was applauded by both sets of fans.
“I don’t take any more joy out of beating them,” said Martin.
“That reception from the Swansea fans made me really emotional, it was really incredible and I hope the Southampton fans understand why I applaud them.
“I love some of their players on the pitch. My feeling towards the people who run the football club, who are not in Wales, is completely detached from the feeling I have for the people in Wales.
“I didn’t know what I was expecting, they could have booed, I hoped not but we left.
“I really buy into clubs and so does my family – my son wanted a Jan Bednarek signed shirt for Christmas and he wore it all day, it is down to his ankles.
“We are loving our time here but we also loved our time at Swansea.”
Saints took the lead in the 17th minute when Joe Aribo slotted in for the first time since October 2022.
Samuel Edozie capitalised on goalkeeper Carl Rushworth’s air-kick to back-heel his fifth goal of the season before Ryan Fraser came off the bench to emphatically finish twice, and Che Adams added a fifth.
The performance was a reward for Martin giving his players Christmas Day off.
He said: “I gave the players Christmas Day off because they are human-beings.
“If I’m going to preach to them about how important family is and being able to separate reality from this then to say they have to come in on Christmas Day is unfair.
“It would only have been the right thing if we won, if we lost then it would be the reason why we lost. They really repaid me today.”
Swansea interim boss Alan Sheehan is holding talks over his future later on Saturday.
The Irishman said: “I will be speaking to the owners after the game. Right now, I have to debrief that game.
“I understand everyone wants clarity but I can only get the team prepared.”
Swansea only had one shot on target.
Sheehan added: “We came here with the intention of going toe to toe with one of the best teams in the league.
“For large periods of the game we were massively in the game but the second goal kills us – it was a sucker-punch.
“I didn’t like a lot of the second half to be honest, it was unacceptable. We gifted them goals at times and made it hard for ourselves.
“It was unacceptable but I’ll take responsibility. We want to be brave but we caused ourselves problems at times.”
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