Mark Hughes revealed that he and his coaching staff have been applying additional pressure to their attacking players this week, as they look to improve the team’s goalscoring form.
Saints have gone five Premier League matches without scoring and next head to defending champions Manchester City, who have kept clean sheets in their last six.
Having challenged his defensive players in recent weeks, Hughes wants to see a similar response from his forwards on Sunday.
we have to put pressure on them. we need a little bit more quality and care in terms of our finishing.mark hughes
"We did in the last international week a lot of work with the defensive guys, because we felt we needed to tighten that up, and they worked exceptionally hard, all the back four and defensive guys – the full-backs and the midfield guys as well – in terms of trying to embed what we felt we needed to put into them,” he said.
“So that was the demand we placed on them as a defensive unit, and they've borne the fruits of that in recent weeks in my view.
“I think that tells you the work that we do here will have an impact, so clearly the demands we made of the defensive guys, this week, given we haven't scored for a number of weeks, we've placed the same demands on our attacking players.
“At the end of the day, strikers, wide guys, attacking midfield players, they have to chip in with goals, and if we have to place demands on them that's what we'll do.”
Hughes added: “I think we’re at a point where we have to put pressure on them.
“We can’t be loose in our work. If you’re training and you get an opportunity in training, if you’re loose and not quite taking clear-cut chances in training then clearly you’re not going to do that come match time.
“So we’re being a bit harder in training, so they get that understanding that we need a little bit more quality and a little bit more care in terms of our finishing.
“On occasion we’ve been a little bit loose in games and accepted it and had the view that maybe there will be another chance coming along in a couple of minutes, and that might not be the case, certainly at the weekend, so if we get a chance we’ve got to take it.”