Talking Tactics

Tadic creativity key to Saints' destiny

By Adrian Clarke 24 Mar 2018
Dusan Tadic, Southampton

Adrian Clarke on why the Southampton midfielder can deliver for Mark Hughes' men in the final matches

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Dusan Tadic

Mark Hughes will need to draw a series of inspirational displays from Southampton’s most talented individuals to successfully negotiate a tough looking run-in.

To that end Tadic will be indispensable for the new manager.

Like many of his team-mates, Tadic has lacked consistency in 2017/18. But his ability to create chances with his left foot can make the difference in Saints' bid to stay up.

Tadic has produced four goals and four assists in all competitions and was on song again in last weekend’s FA Cup quarter-final win at Wigan Athletic.

His five key passes, including an assist, will have made a strong impression on Hughes.

If Southampton's manager persists with a 4-4-2 formation, Tadic will be tasked with supplying crosses from the flanks.

But he needs an element of freedom. Two of his goals and assists have stemmed from turnovers or counter-attacks in central areas.

So Hughes should also encourage the Serb to move infield at the right moments.

Tadic's attacking threat in 2017/18
  Tadic Club rank
Chances created 44 1
Open-play assists 3 1=
Fouls won final third 10 1=
Open-play accurate crosses 15 2
Possession won final third  15 2
Shots on target 10 3

As the numbers above outline, Tadic is the club's leading creative force.

He is reliable in advanced areas, boasting a club-best 20.3 per cent accuracy from his crosses. He has also hit the target with half his shots this term.

Provided they can supply him with the ball quickly enough in the right areas, Southampton should be confident of scoring goals.

But Tadic needs to take on greater responsibility and demand the ball as much as possible.

If he rises to this challenge, wherever he is deployed, he has what it takes to lead Southampton to safety. 

Also in this series

Part 2: Assured Mawson Swansea's shining light
Part 3: Why Milivojevic is central to Palace's hopes
Part 4: Unfamiliar role adds to value of Cresswell
Part 5: How Shelvey can help Newcastle hit their target
Part 6: Schindler has strength for Huddersfield's tests ahead

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