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Russell Martin Has No Regrets Over Finger Gesture Towards Cardiff City


By Gareth James

Russell Martin insists he has no regrets about his post-match celebrations that riled some Cardiff City fans.

Martin stuck four fingers in the air in the direction of travelling Bluebirds supporters after his Southampton team had beaten Cardiff 2-0 at St. Mary’s.

The four was a reference to his 4-0 winning sequence against the capital city club when Martin was in charge at Swansea City.

Martin comfortably extended that streak to 5-0 with Saints and did the “swim away” gesture just for good measure after a section of the away fans had given him abuse throughout the game.

“I had my time at the end,” said Martin afterwards.

“They had theirs over the 90 minutes so I enjoyed mine for 10 seconds at the end.

“I’m sure there will be people who disagree with that but I choose to feel everything and enjoy that. If you want to hammer me for 90 minutes then I’m allowed maybe 10 seconds at the end.”

Martin was able to extend his stranglehold over Cardiff thanks to an Adam Armstrong double that made it Saints’ longest unbeaten run for 29 seasons.

Armstrong curled and headed in his 11th and 12th goals of the season to stay on the heels of Blackburn’s Sammie Szmodics in the race for the Sky Bet Championship’s Golden Boot.

Saints stay fourth but the 11 matches they are now without defeat has equalled the number they went unbeaten between December 1994 and February 1995 – though that run remarkably contained nine draws, in contrast to the eight wins in the current sequence.

Cardiff manager Erol Bulut admitted there was a gap in quality between the teams – one that he says he hoped to bridge with new signings in the January transfer window.

“I hope in the January transfer [window] I can get some quality players in and we can push for more,” said Bulut.

“This is the difference between the top level and what we currently have. It is small details.

“We’ve played against relegated Premier League teams, they have quality but they show us where we need to go and how we need to work. We’ll look in January to get to that level.”

The defeat leaves Cardiff – who were in the play-off places a few short weeks ago – now back in 11th place in the Championship table.

Bulut’s side have won just once in their last five matches and taken only four points from a possible 15.

“The first 20 minutes was [what went wrong],” he added.

“It was not what I was expecting. After those 20 minutes we woke up but we were already 2-0 down. We were good but not good enough.

“At the end of the first half if we had scored with [Karlan Grant] I think the second half would be very different.

“We have progressed from the start of the season to today perfectly and we will continue to work hard.

Martin continued his 100 per cent win record against Cardiff but saw Southampton’s promotion position unmoved, with Leicester, Ipswich and Leeds also winning.

He added: “I’m really happy. I thought we were good today.

“We started the game so well. We should score more goals, that was the only frustration. I thought the lads were incredible in the second half.

“I watched with so much pride and gratitude for what they were doing. It’s been a long week so to produce that level of performance in the second half… [scoring a third goal] wasn’t to be.

“Ryan Fraser has come off the pitch frustrated that he hasn’t scored. It’s not a coincidence that the chances fall to him because he runs at the goal relentlessly.

“He [Armstrong] has so much quality and also a load of attitude. The first goal is quality and the second is his attitude and desire.

“We love him in that dressing room for how he is and how he conducts himself and how he works for the team. The goals are a real bonus and he possesses so much quality but it is his intensity he plays at and his willingness to run.”


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