Southampton midfielder Jack Cork highlights importance of clear-the-air talks

Jack Cork: Crucial talks improved Southampton's form

Loading Market ...

Football Betting

Up To £30 Free Matched Bet

Southampton midfielder Jack Cork believes clear-the-air talks have helped rejuvenate their season as they prepare to entertain Sunderland on Saturday.

Nigel Adkins' side were in the relegation zone earlier in the season after recording just one victory in their first 10 Premier League matches.

The Saints let in 28 goals during that period but have since improved defensively, conceding just four goals in their last six outings as they lost just one game, to move up to 17th in the table.

"When you're going through a bad patch, the thing you do is look at everything you are doing wrong and try and put it right," said Cork.

"The manager came in and said 'what do you lot think we're doing wrong?' Everybody put their input in, we changed things we needed to change and it worked for us.

"A couple of months ago we had a few talks and we had a few things around the training ground. We all decided as a team what we needed to do to put things right.

"We focused on different things at the training ground, a lot more people spoke up. We created little groups at the training ground to talk about certain issues.

"I think everything has come together at the right time when things were looking bad and somehow we all just pulled together and started picking up a few results in big games we had."

In particular, Cork was keen to highlight the improvements made in defending that have led to their recent improvement.

"The team just seems a lot more defensively assured. We have not conceded as many goals as we did at the start of the season," he added.

"We just look a lot more confident in our defensive play and obviously with the attacking players we've got, we always know we're going to score.

"As long as we stopped conceding goals, we always knew we would start picking up points because the attackers always do their jobs."

Don't miss any live and exclusive football coverage this festive season. Click here to visit Sky Sports' Festive Calendar