sport

Cork relishing festive period

Jack Cork is relishing the hectic festive period as Southampton seek to end a six-match winless streak in the Premier League.

Saints' fine start to the season is now just a distant memory, with Sunday's 3-2 home loss to Tottenham equalling their longest winless run under Mauricio Pochettino.

Despite that poor recent form, Southampton will spend Christmas ninth in the table and there remains an air of calm around the club.

Saints have played well during a tough run made worse by mounting injury problems, which they hope will ease with trips to Cardiff and Everton coming up in quick succession.

The matches form part of a hectic festive schedule that reminds Cork of his days with Saints in the Football League, with the midfielder calling for a similar spirit shown as the club secured back-to-back promotions from the third tier.

"We're playing alright," the 24-year-old member of 2012 promotion-winning side said. "The lucky thing is it is like the Championships days with all these games at the moment.

"We have a game on Wednesday now to try and get this out of our system, which I think is quite good after this.

"We want to get straight back at it. There is a lot of frustration inside the changing room, so it will be good to get back out and try again."

One of the main frustrations for Saints of late has been their worryingly porous defence.

Pochettino's side conceded only five goals in their opening 11 fixtures, but, as the injuries piled up, have now let in 13 in the subsequent seven.

"It is just a bit frustrating, conceding goals we didn't earlier on in the season," Cork said. "We were just unlucky at times, really.

"But it is alright, everything will be okay in the end. We will sort it out in the end.

"It is one of those things. You go through good patches and bad patches in all walks of life.

"Hopefully we will come through this bad patch sooner rather than later and get going again."

The problems Saints are experiencing due to the number of enforced absentees have raised questions over the strength in depth available to Pochettino.

Some have failed to impress since being called in, although Cork is flourishing back in the team after dropping down the pecking order this term.

The former Chelsea man's midfield partnership with Morgan Schneiderlin played a major part in Southampton's success over the past two seasons, although the Tottenham match was the first time they started together this season.

"It has been a while," Cork said. "I loved playing with him last year and I am a bit gutted I've not been able to do it this year.

"Hopefully I can get a few more chances to try and get that partnership going again."