Pellegrino calls for points not just performances

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Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino insists his players are well aware they are in a relegation scrap and believes they are up to the task of securing their survival.

Saints travel to fellow strugglers Newcastle on Saturday in a crucial match with both sides hovering precariously just above the bottom three.

Pellegrino’s side have won just one of their last 15 Premier League matches, against rock-bottom West Brom.

They missed the chance to ease some of the pressure last weekend when they could only manage a 0-0 draw with another struggling team, Stoke, at St Mary’s.

Southampton have nine games remaining to save themselves, starting with the trip to St James’ Park, and Pellegrino concedes now is the time to deliver results rather than performances.

He said: “Every single game from now, thinking about the next nine games, will be massive because we have to try to do our job as soon as possible.

“We have to be focused on what we have to do on the pitch – how we attack, how we defend, how balanced is our mentality in good moments and difficult moments.

“The team is conscious about how we need to be in this moment, how we approach this situation and we are ready to compete.

“It is difficult to talk to the fans and say we are getting better because since January the team lifted performances, but now we need results. That is the reality.

“As a manager I have to think about what to do. We need results but the consequence is what we do on the pitch.”

Pellegrino will come up against Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez, whom he played under at Valencia and Liverpool and was later part of the Spaniard’s coaching staff at Anfield.

“We are in contact sometimes, yes.” added Pellegrino.

“Obviously I have had a lot of relations with Rafa and I will always be grateful with him because I have been with him as a player and assistant and also with his staff.”

Saints skipper Steven Davis has missed the last three matches due to a knock and could be absent again, while defender Maya Yoshida (knee) and striker Charlie Austin (hamstring) remain on the sidelines.