According to reports in The Sun on Tuesday, Southampton manager Claude Puel has come under criticism from midfielder Dusan Tadic having substituted the Serbian in the club’s last five matches.
It is a recurring situation that is starting to frustrate the 28-year-old, who believes he should be playing for the whole 90 minutes as he is an influential part of the team.
The latest case of him being hauled off by the Frenchman came on Sunday during Saints’ 2-1 defeat to Tottenham at White Hart Lane, while he was also taken off when the scores were level against Everton, Burnley and Manchester United in the EFL Cup final in recent times, with the side going on to lose all three games.
But while Tadic proved he was an important part of the team last season in the Premier League when he scored seven goals and provided 12 assists in 34 appearances, his stats are far less impressive this term as the south coast outfit have hovered around mid-table.
In 23 top flight outings he has scored three goals from 29 shots and picked up four assists.
While that may not seem like a bad record, it isn’t too dissimilar to teammate James Ward-Prowse’s own stats for this term, even though the 22-year-old has often played in a deeper position than the Serbian.
The England international has netted three goals and also provided four assists, making 32 key passes.
Now, that is a stat that Tadic does excel in, having made 42 this season – a club high.
However, Puel may feel that the 28-year-old just isn’t doing enough in his current role at the centre of an attacking midfield trio, and had club-record buy Sofiane Boufal adapted to the rigours of the Premier League quicker, he may not have even found himself in the starting XI at all.
It will be interesting to see what Puel does next, but in Tadic’s case the stats suggest that he needs to do his talking on the pitch, rather than off of it.