Safri determined to save Saints

PUBLISHED: 10:29 25 April 2008 | UPDATED: 15:32 10 September 2010

Youssef Safri has been appointed captain of relegation-threatened Southampton. Picture: EDP library.

Youssef Safri has been appointed captain of relegation-threatened Southampton. Picture: EDP library.

Michael Bailey

Youssef Safri has vowed to use his newly-appointed responsibility on the south coast to help Norwich's Championship relegation rivals climb clear of trouble.

Youssef Safri has vowed to use his newly-appointed responsibility on the south coast to help Norwich's Championship relegation rivals climb clear of trouble.

With only 180 minutes of the league season remaining, the former City star has been appointed as Southampton captain by newly-installed manager Nigel Pearson.

And although the Moroccan international left Carrow Road during the summer, following a rather public falling out with then-manager Peter Grant, Safri finds himself at a club in arguably a more perilous position than the Canaries.

However, the 31-year-old is not about to let the Saints ship sink on his watch.

“We still have two games, tough games, but we have got confidence in the players and staff as well,” said Safri. “All the time, captain or not, everything I do is to respect all the players and be a friend of everyone and I have respect for the club as well.

“It's an honour for me to be the first Moroccan to be captain of this club. I'm not going to go down and nor are Saints.”

Southampton, currently occupying the final safe spot in the Coca-Cola Championship table, will have a watching brief over the weekend before they take on title-chasing West Bromwich Albion on Monday evening.

The Saints are two points behind the Canaries with a worse goal difference and while City were beaten by the Baggies at the weekend, Southampton slipped to defeat at home to Burnley following Steven Caldwell's 45th minute strike.

“We're very disappointed, especially when you work hard and deserve to win the game but in the end one goal and we lost the game and that is a very, very disappointing feeling,” added Safri.

“They'd been in our box three times in 45 minutes and we'd played good and were creating chances, but conceding goals like that cost us a lot in our situation.

“When you see yourself losing in the end you feel really bad because we had chances and played really good, but the result is a really, really disappointing feeling for the players. Hopefully we can stop the feeling now,” Safri told Southampton's Daily Echo.

Southampton face Sheffield United at St Mary's on the final day of the season and with the club's off-the pitch turmoil refusing to go away as former chairman Rupert Lowe looks for a return to the Saints' boardroom, Safri's current club could be the most likely to remain between his former club and League One.

A point for Norwich at home to QPR on Saturday, followed by a Monday defeat for the Saints at the Hawthorns, and the Canaries would find themselves three points ahead of their south coast rivals with a far superior goal difference ahead of the season's final round of fixtures.

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