Armel Bella-Kotchap eyes Nottingham Forest game key for Southampton

Southampton defender Armel Bella-Kotchap has targeted Wednesday’s clash with fellow Nottingham Forest fighters as their chance to get out of the drop zone.

The Saints were condemned to start the new year at the foot of the Premier League after Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at Fulham.

James Ward-Prowse thought he had earned a first point under new boss Nathan Jones after scoring with a trademark free-kick to cancel out his own goal, after deflecting Andreas Pereira’s shot.

But Joao Palhinha’s wide header from a corner doomed Southampton to another defeat.

“It’s difficult because we conceded two goals from set pieces,” German defender Bella-Kotchap told the club’s website.

“We talked about it and we want to improve that, but we conceded two easy goals and that can’t happen in the situation we find ourselves in. We have to defend properly.

“We played well, we played with the front foot and that was the game plan the coach told us before.

“We have to take the positives and we have to invest a lot more against Nottingham at home to get out of this situation.

“It’s a big game for me because we know that with three points we can have the chance to get out of this situation. It’s difficult right now after the game, but we’ll stick together as a team and do our best.

Fulham could even afford a stoppage time penalty from Aleksandar Mitrovic as they cement their place in the top eight.

However, boss Marco Silva isn’t getting carried away with their lofty position.

“We are not in a position to change a word of our aim and our goals this season,” he said.

“We have to keep our feet on the ground to best prepare for the next one.”

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