Now that Rickie Lambert has successfully rejoined his boyhood club, he’s taken a sort of passive approach towards the team he spent five years with and helped promote to the top flight.
However, after Liverpool’s season-opening win Sunday, he gave us a bit of a look into the inside of Southampton’s firesale.
After making his official Liverpool debut, reporters asked Lambert to contrast his reception from Southampton fans, which was mostly warm, to that of Dejan Lovren, which was quite hostile.
“Obviously, a few of the players have took a bit of stick,” Lambert said. “They’ll take the stick, that’s football. It’s been surprising that it’s all been the players and none on the owners, which I have found a bit surprising.”
Then, he threw in this nugget as well.
“There’s obviously a reason why the gaffer [Former Southampton and current Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino] went and I think that was the moment that it became clear to the players what the ambition of the club was going to be.”
It’s pretty obvious that Lambert had a good relationship with the manager, and when the club didn’t make a competitive attempt to keep Pochettino, the players knew it was a sign of things to come.
It’s no surprise Southampton did what they did, as many smaller clubs have player resale high on their priority list when doing business. However, it certainly is a disappointment to the fans and players that it all had to come at one time.
In fact, it’s even more surprising that the club finally drew a line in the sand and stopped Morgan Schneiderlin and Jay Rodriguez from leaving, something that left the former angered. However, Schneiderlin played very well in the season opener and that can let fans rest easy that they can probably get another quality season out of the Frenchman and still have the opportunity to sell high.
Lambert also said that while their focus on the blame may be misguided, he still loves the supporters.
“I love Southampton fans,” Lambert insisted. “I’ve got a good relationship with them, so it was nice that they acknowledged me in the way they did. I tried to acknowledge them back in the same manner, the same kind of respect. I’ve got nothing but respect for Southampton, the players and the fans.”