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Russell Martin Admits He’s Not Surprised To See Swansea City Sinking

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By Paul Jones

Russell Martin has said he is not surprised to see Swansea City struggling – but insisted he takes no pleasure from their decline.

The former Swans head coach watched his current Southampton team hammer his old club 5-0 in a game that encapsulated why the former Scotland defender left one club to join the other.

The Saints equalled a 102-year record when Ryan Fraser netted a brace, while Joe Aribo, Samuel Edozie and Che Adams also struck to help Saints extend their unbeaten run to 16 matches, their longest stretch without a league defeat since the 1921/22 season.

Southampton, who were watched by owner Dragan Solak ahead of the January transfer window, moved up to third.

It would have been bittersweet for Martin, who managed the Swans in 99 fixtures before switching to Saints last summer.

Asked if he was surprised to see the Swans struggling in the lower reaches of the Championship, eight points above the relegation zone, Martin said: “It isn’t my situation, but it [Swansea struggling] doesn’t surprise me.

“I don’t take any more joy out of beating them. That reception from the Swansea fans made me really emotional, it was really incredible and I hope the Southampton fans understand why I applaud them.

“I love some of their players on the pitch. My feeling towards the people who run the football club, who are not in Wales, is completely detached from the feeling I have for the people in Wales.

“I didn’t know what I was expecting, they could have booed, I hoped not but we left.

“I really buy into clubs and so does my family – my son wanted a Jan Bednarek signed shirt for Christmas and he wore it all day, it is down to his ankles.”

Swansea had started strongly. Jerry Yates met a Ben Cabango pass from a deep free-kick but fired high and wide on the slide in the second minute.

Then Bashir Humphreys found Jamal Lowe in acres of space at the back post but his attempted side-footed strike ballooned off target.

They were quickly made to pay for their lack of killer instinct as Aribo opened the scoring in the 17th minute, his first goal for 451 days, when he netted against Everton in the Premier League.

Edozie had smartly jinxed his way to the by-line before cutting back to Stuart Armstrong. The midfielder’s shot was blocked but it fell to the Nigeria international who fired in via the post.

Swansea are a rare Championship side Adam Armstrong has failed to score against, and he had two good first-half chances to remedy that.

Firstly, his effort was too tame and central to beat Carl Rushworth after a Kyle Walker-Peters pull back, before properly testing the keeper with a left-footed strike destined for the bottom corner.

Saints consolidated their lead three minutes into the second half but were indebted to a rush of blood from Rushworth to give Edozie a tap-in.

The Brighton loanee swung wildly at Nathan Wood’s back pass, missed and winger Edozie was free to back heel in for goals in back-to-back home matches.

The goal was met with chants of “get out of our club” by Swansea fans as they continued to make their displeasure at their American owners known.

Substitute Fraser made sure of the Saints victory when he curled into the top corner after Adam Armstrong had quickly turned over the ball and played it to the Scot.

Sekou Mara was a toe from sliding in a fourth before Rushworth had to bat away Walker-Peters’ near-post blast.

Fraser crashed into the roof of the net after Mara had played him in and Adams powered in after a Fraser cross to make it four and five – with 310 minutes elapsing since Saints last conceded a goal.

Swansea interim boss Alan Sheehan said: “I will be speaking to the owners after the game.

“Right now, I have to debrief that game. I understand everyone wants clarity but I can only get the team prepared.

“We came here with the intention of going toe to toe with one of the best teams in the league.

“For large periods of the game we were massively in the game but the second goal kills us – it was a sucker-punch.

“I didn’t like a lot of the second half to be honest, it was unacceptable. We gifted them goals at times and made it hard for ourselves.

“It was unacceptable but I’ll take responsibility. We want to be brave but we caused ourselves problems at times.”

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