Jose Fonte believes fatigue was responsible for Southampton’s second-half collapse in their 2-2 Premier League draw with Leicester City on Saturday.
Having largely controlled the opening 45 minutes, the Saints had been leading 2-0 at half-time, with goals from Fonte and Virgil van Dijk.
Following Leicester’s opening goal from the in-form Jamie Vardy, however, Southampton began to defend from an increasingly deep position when their visitors had previously posed little threat.
Despite the forward then missing a fine chance to equalise in the 81st minute, he was given yet another in stoppage time which he confidently finished it to secure a 2-2 draw, and Fonte is convinced that his team-mates competing throughout the international break caused them to be sluggish.
“We controlled the game in the first half,” said the Southampton captain, who on Friday signed a new contract to remain at the club until 2018. “But we were against a team that never gives up. We knew about that, before the game we were talking about it.
“In the second half, we weren’t fresh. We dropped our intensity. We stopped pressing them. We allowed them to have the ball too much. We didn’t hold the ball up front.
“And that invites pressure. It looked like a question of time when they were going to score, because it was ball after ball after ball, too much defending. When that happens, you run the risk of conceding goals and that is what happened.
“We had a lot of people away on international duty. They came back tired. You could see we were tired. Leicester don’t have as many players (as us) in the national teams and it showed.
“We weren’t fresh enough after 55 minutes. It’s hard when you go away (on international duty) but we will talk about what we can do.”
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