Classy Saints please Adkins

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NIGEL Adkins would prefer for people to be talking about his Southampton team’s style of play instead of Luke Chambers’ red card after the Saints defeated Nottingham Forest 3-0 to stay at the summit of the npower Championship.

The Saints defeated struggling Forest 3-0 at the City Ground, with Guly, David Connolly and Morgan Schneiderlin on target, but home boss Steve Cotterill was most annoyed by the way the away bench called for Chambers’ dismissal following an aerial challenge.

Adkins, though, believes Southampton’s quality should be the talking point.

“I know everyone will be talking about the sending off but I thought we were in control of the game anyway so I don’t think that would have affected the outcome,” he said. “Our principle is to pass the football and we did that very well. We have some exceptionally good footballers in this team and they demonstrated that today. We scored three times and we could have had more.”

West Ham are behind the Saints only on goal difference, with the top two now four points clear.

The Hammers edged Portsmouth 1-0 at Fratton Park on Saturday after Mark Noble’s penalty, but manager Sam Allardyce is still hoping to sign a goalscorer in January.

“Even with all the chances we created we have only won the game by a penalty so it was very important it was put away,” he said.

“I am looking for another striker because from the chances we created we have not been clinical enough and that has been a problem.”

Middlesbrough suffered a surprising 2-0 defeat at the hands of visiting Burnley, leaving Clarets manager Eddie Howe talking up his side’s prospects.

“We’ve won seven out of nine now. There’s no reason if this squad can keep it up that we can’t compete with the very best in this league,” said Howe. “We counter-attacked superbly in the first half and at times we cut them open. We could have had more goals if truth be told.”

Chris Hughton was measured despite seeing Birmingham romp to a 6-0 away victory over nine-man Millwall.

Curtis Davies, Chris Burke, Adam Rooney and Nathan Redmond all scored, while Marlon King notched twice, but Hughton refused to get carried away.

“We were able to capitalise on the circumstances and the space we were afforded,’’ said Hughton.

“You have still got to break a team down, get into the spaces and take your chances - we were clinical enough which was great.’’

Elsewhere, Brighton defeated Bristol City 2-0 and 10-man Crystal Palace claimed a 1-1 draw with Leeds.