Ruben Selles confident Southampton are ‘still alive’ in relegation battle

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Southampton boss Ruben Selles remains optimistic his struggling side can avoid Premier League relegation ahead of a crunch clash with Crystal Palace.

Beleaguered Saints sit bottom of the division, four points from safety with eight fixtures remaining, following a five-match winless run.

Selles insists the club “are still alive” and pointed to 1-0 victories over Chelsea and Leicester in the early days of his tenure for reasons to be positive.

“I am still confident (of staying up),” the Spaniard told a press conference.

“I think it is a fact that we didn’t win in the last five games, but it is also a fact that we won two of the first three that we played.

“I think we have arguments and we have shown how competitive we can be.

“We are still alive and we are still there to get the three points tomorrow and then move forward to the last part of the season with attitude, with commitment and all together trying to get the very best.”

Palace travel to St Mary’s having eased their own fears of the drop with successive wins under Roy Hodgson but also have work to do to secure their top-flight status.

Selles insists his squad have sufficient desire to scrape survival but concedes results must swiftly improve.

“I have said from the very beginning that the group has it and the players they have it,” he said.

“And they have been working really well. And then it’s just for tomorrow to put all this fight that we have inside and then just go for it.

“It’s a cliche but every game is must-win. We need to put everything tomorrow to get the three points.”

Southampton remain without injured trio Mohammed Salisu, Mislav Orsic (both hip) and Che Adams (calf), in addition to long-term absentees Tino Livramento and Juan Larios.

Selles dismissed reports Ghana defender Salisu is absent from the first team due to commitment issues.

“He is an injured player and we cannot have an issue with the attitude there if he is not available,” said the manager.

“We can talk about the players that are available. Salisu is unfortunately not available for us.

“The issue with attitude could only be with the players who are with us working and trying to compete for tomorrow’s game.”

In more positive news for Saints, England Under-21 defender Livramento was due to play for the club’s B team against Stoke on Friday evening.

The 20-year-old former Chelsea academy player has been sidelined since suffering an ACL injury in a 2-2 draw at Brighton last April.

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