Norwich City replay is the nightmare scenario for Southampton’s Claude Puel

Southampton manager Claude Puel was left to rue Norwich
City's late equaliser. Picture by Paul Ches

Southampton manager Claude Puel was left to rue Norwich City's late equaliser. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Claude Puel admitted Southampton's FA Cup replay against Norwich City will cap a nightmare January.

The Saints must now play eight games this month after Steven Naismith's stoppage time header forced Puel to add another date to his squad's congested calendar.

Southampton play the first leg of their EFL Cup semi-final on Wednesday against Liverpool and have a crowded Premier League programme either side of Norwich's return cup visit to St Mary's on January 18.

'It is a big disappointment and, I agree, with another game it is a strong January month and this is difficult,' said the Frenchman. 'They know this, all my players know this, because we make many games since the beginning of the season and for one week it would have been interesting to recover but now this is not possible. It is important to prepare the next game and to take game after game with a good concentration and not like the last five minutes here. To try to have clean sheets and good results and step by step to make good work. I think of course it's a big disappointment because I had the feeling we controlled this game, we controlled the ball and we score two fantastic goals with Virgil (van Dijk) and Maya (Yoshida). Norwich's second goal is our fault - to give an opportunity in the last minute to this team to come back.'

City's earlier penalty also proved a self-inflicted blow, with teenage debutant keeper Harry Lewis wiping out Cameron Jerome trying to recover from his initial heavy touch from a back pass.

'It's important to say he make two good saves,' said Puel. 'It's interesting and it's a pity for him to make this mistake, but it was important to see Harry play. We have Alex McCarthy out with injury and it's important to give him game time and develop all the young players. It's a pity for him and also for all the team because we had control of the game. Now it is more work but it is our own fault.'

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