Southampton will continue to march on, even without want-away defender Jose Fonte, insisted Jay Rodriguez ahead of the club’s EFL Cup semi-final showdown against Liverpool.
Fonte will sit out Wednesday’s first-leg visit of Liverpool after the 33-year-old Portugal international submitted a transfer request.
The veteran’s imminent departure is nothing new for Rodriguez and Co. following the losses of Luke Shaw, Dejan Lovren, Adam Lallana, Morgan Schneiderlin, Nathan Clyne, Sadio Mane, Victor Wanyama, Rickie Lambert, Calum Chambers and Graziano Pelle, as well as managers Mauricio Pochettino and Ronald Koeman.
Despite the exits of key first-team figures, Southampton have seamlessly rebuilt season after season and English forward Rodriguez said they can do so again.
Asked if Southampton can upstage Liverpool without Fonte – a member of Portugal’s Euro 2016 triumphant, Rodriguez replied: “Yes, of course.
“The squad we have is very strong; we have great strength in depth. Just look at the lads we have brought in. Football players come and go and move on but, as long as you stick to the philosophy of the club, I don’t think you can go wrong. The club is going forward each year.”
Rodriguez added: “The lads, every single one of us, are honest. Things change very quickly. The lads aren’t naive to think it doesn’t. You have to stay focused and realise what you need to do to move forward. Every situation has been different as to why players have left. The main thing was everyone had to stick to the philosophy of, ‘We need to improve on last year’.
“It’s about what we do on the training ground. We didn’t look back. We lost players but we have also gained players. It’s been an opportunity for some. Look at the players the club has brought through. It comes from individuals but also collectively.”
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