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Sunday 23 April 2017

Puel puts no extra pressure on Long to net more goals

Southampton's Shane Long
Southampton's Shane Long

Southampton manager Claude Puel will not put pressure on forwards Shane Long and Jay Rodriguez to score more goals in the absence of injured striker Manolo Gabbiadini.

Mid-table Saints host in-form Crystal Palace tonight on the back of Saturday's goalless home draw against Bournemouth - a match Italy forward Gabbiadini missed through an injury sustained before the international break.

Gabbiadini, the former Napoli frontman hit the ground running with five goals in his first four starts before picking up a groin injury in the early stages of the 2-1 defeat at Tottenham on March 19.

With fellow striker Charlie Austin also sidelined, Rodriguez and Long were given the task of leading the line for Puel's side last weekend against the Cherries.

"For a striker, it's always important to score, but I don't want to put them under pressure with an obligation to score," the Frenchman said. "It's important they can do good work for their team-mates.

"In different situations they can have different opportunities to score, but it's not just important for strikers to score.It's important all of the players in the team can score - not just the strikers."

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