Southampton were dealt a cruel blow on Tuesday night as Andre Gray rescued a point for Watford in the 90th minute and left the Saints looking over their shoulders in the Premier League table.
The Saints took the lead after just seven seconds as Shane Long closed down a long ball and raced through to chip over Ben Foster and record the Premier League’s fastest ever goal.
Despite holding out for the next 89 minutes, they couldn’t quite see out the game to earn a much needed three points and left Ralph Hasenhüttl’s men with a familiar feeling.
That feeling being one of a missed opportunity – what could have been. Opta stats show that Southampton have dropped a league-high 25 points from winning positions this season.
The south coast club currently find themselves in 16th position on 37 points, just six points above the relegation zone. However, if they had held on to every lead they had this season, they would have amassed a whopping 62 points and find themselves seventh, just two points behind Manchester United.
Of course, no team will ever hold onto every lead they take, so perhaps this example is extreme. But say for instance, Southampton had held onto just half of the points they had dropped from leading positions this season (13 points), they would still see them in seventh place – level on points with Watford.
It is fair to say Hasenhuttl has performed well as Saints boss since taking over from Mark Hughes, guiding a Championship-bound team to within a whisker of safety with three games to go.
However, the Austrian manager will surely look at his team’s ability to hold onto a lead and seek to fix that this summer.
Whether it’s a lack of fitness or concentration levels, this Southampton team to continue to fall short in the final stages of games. Be it through a couple of signings or an intense pre-season regime, it would be a huge surprise if Hasenhuttl allows this Saints squad to make the same mistakes next season as they have this.