Saints legend looks ahead to meeting with Portsmouth
“You spend any time at this football club and you spend any time with the fans of this football club and you know how important it is to not lose this football match.”
Matt Le Tissier’s summary of the south coast derby will no doubt strike a chord with supporters right across the breadth of the Southampton fanbase.
Seven years on from the last meeting between the teams, Portsmouth and Saints will finally face each other again, at Fratton Park, in Tuesday night’s Carabao Cup third-round tie.
For Le Tissier, like many others, it has been a long time coming.
“A little smile came across my face,” said the Saints legend, as he reflected on the moment the draw was made. “It’s been quite a long time, seven years, since the last derby, so I think we were due one.
“We’ve got to go down and play at their place, but, given the position the two clubs are in at the moment, we’ll be going in as hot favourites.”
matt le tissierto the two sets of fans it's incredibly important.
on the south coast derby
During his glittering career with Southampton, Le Tissier only got to experience the south coast derby twice.
Once was early in his career, as a late sub in a 2-0 league defeat at The Dell, and the other was in 1996 when he played an influential role as Saints cruised to an FA Cup third-round win at The Dell.
“The atmosphere that day was just electrifying,” recalled Le Tissier. “It was a completely different atmosphere to any other fixture I played in at The Dell if I’m honest.
“Running out at five-to-three, there was just an extra electricity in the air, an extra energy all about the place, and we managed to run out pretty comfortable winners. It was a fantastic day for the club.”
Le Tissier added: “I think people who have never been to one of those games and never sampled the atmosphere would probably look at it and kind of say ‘Oh, it’s just a little south coast derby, it’s nothing important’, but to the two sets of fans it’s an incredibly important fixture.
“It would be a massive shock if we weren’t to win it given the position we’re in at the moment and where they are as a club.
“I think most Southampton fans would be incredibly shocked if we didn’t come away with a win, but the atmosphere will be electric and the players will have to deal with that first and foremost.
“Hopefully they can come away with a nice comfortable victory and we’re not biting our nails at the end of the game.”