Southampton (H) | Houghton's Reaction
Argyle midfielder Jordan Houghton is determined to take the positives from Argyle’s start to the Sky Bet Championship season so far, despite Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at home to Southampton.
The Greens played superbly in the first half in particular against the Saints, and showed great resilience to react quickly, with Ryan Hardie equalising just moments after Nathan Tella had put Southampton in front.
However, Che Adams pounced in stoppage time to break Argyle hearts and send promotion favourites Southampton away with all three points.
The narrow defeat was the third game of the league season for the Pilgrims, following an opening day win against Huddersfield Town, then a hugely creditable 0-0 draw at Watford.
Houghton was understandably deflated at Southampton’s late winner, but is looking to the bigger picture for consolation.
“It’s been a very positive start in terms of points on the board, and performances as well,” he said. “It’s been a tough start, but there aren’t any easy games in this league. Every week's going to be a tough game.
“I don't think many teams will give them that tough a game for the rest of the season.
“We've got to take a lot of positives. Those types of games aren't going to define our season. We need to take confidence from it.
“We'd like to have had a bit more of the ball, but I think you have to respect the opponent and the way they play.
“They are going to control the ball in probably every single game, but I think our tactics were spot on. We allowed them to come with the play and then build it up, and we won a lot of balls in and around the middle of park, especially in the first half.
“With a bit more care in the final third, I think we had some real good opportunities to score. That's the difference in this level. Those opportunities aren't taken and they've gone.
“We've lost it to a set piece in the last few minutes. Maybe can we kill the game a little bit more?
“We've got a lot of young players who show some brilliant bits of play in the game, so we can let those things go, but as the season goes on there are little details that we need to just tidy up on. That's going to be the difference between getting three points.
“They (Southampton) are going to be up there with probably the top two or three teams in the league. To put on a performance like that and really give them a tough game; a few of their players were walking off saying that game was toughest in the season so far for them, there won't be many as tough as that for them.
“It’s really disappointing [to lose], but I think if we take a look, scope out a bit and look at the bigger picture, I think it's really positive.
“We've had a good start and we need to build on that because we’re only at the start. We need to keep on improving, keep going forward and confidence should be taken from the first few games.”