James Ward-Prowse knows how bleak Southampton’s plight is after a 4-3 defeat at Nottingham Forest left them staring Premier League relegation in the face.
Saints were on the wrong end of a seven-goal thriller at the City Ground which means they will lose their top-flight status if they fail to beat Fulham on Saturday or results elsewhere go against them.
They were always in the game against Forest and looked dangerous in attack, but were let down by sloppy defending.
“It hurts everybody,” the captain told the club’s official website.
“It’s not just me, it’s everybody’s careers, it’s everybody’s opportunity to do something special for this club and it’s not just me, it hurts everybody, it hurts all the fans and everybody associated with the club.
“It’s clear we have to win all of our games and that’s the position we find ourselves in. Like I said, every game has increased importance and the challenge hasn’t changed, we have to win our games and obviously hope everything goes our way and we have to focus on the next one now.
“Games are won and lost at both ends of the pitch and when you give two goals away in the way that we did, and we scored three goals but it’s still not enough and I think that says a lot about where we are as a team at the minute.
“It’s been too easy. Right from the first game against Spurs until now we’ve not really learned anything, not really progressed, we’ve just taken these results as they are and that’s the most disappointing thing.
Forest’s picture is much brighter after a second win in three games lifted them out of the bottom three.
It was another impressive atmosphere at the City Ground, where Forest have now taken 27 of their 33 points this season.
And boss Steve Cooper hailed the fans’ support.
“They don’t half drag us over the line when we need them. I’m just so glad they leave happy with the three points.”
Forest looked scintillating in attack at times with Taiwo Awoniyi, Brennan Johnson, Morgan Gibbs-White and Danilo all combining with effect.
Cooper added: “We showed great quality with the goals we scored. The first goal, in particular, was some of our technical, attacking, athletic players playing at their very best on that fast attack.
“I’m really pleased with some of the attacking play and the goals. We didn’t cover ourselves in glory with the goals we conceded.”