'Martin has adapted style more than people think'

Russell Martin gestures on the touchline
[PA Media]

Southampton manager Russell Martin deserves credit for adapting Saints' playing style during the course of their promotion-winning campaign, BBC Radio Solent sports editor Adam Blackmore has said.

Martin's first season in charge ended with him leading Saints back to the Premier League at the first attempt via the Championship play-offs.

"He has adapted more than people think," said Blackmore on BBC Radio 5 Live's Monday Night Club when asked how Martin's preferred possession-based style would transfer into the top flight.

"We've seen him mix his game up in the past few months - he's definitely learned. He's been prepared to play over the top and use the pace of his wide players in a 4-3-3, or play into Che Adams when he's played and hold the ball up.

"He hasn't always played the panicky, 'play out of your six-yard box' that everyone puts a label on him for. In the past few weeks, he's played 3-5-2 and 3-4-3 to get through to win this Championship play-off final.

"He said to me on Sunday: 'We've adapted - we don't go away from our principles, but we need to adapt.' I made the comment that he must be pleased because he's shown he can have a plan B, whereas in a previous incarnation, I think he said: 'If plan A doesn't work, we do plan A better.'

"Now he's realised you do have to adapt. He's learning on the job and I think that's great to see from a young British coach."

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