Charlie Austin: Southampton must 'go to war' to stay in Premier League

Charlie Austin and Shane Long celebrate
Charlie Austin has scored in each of the four games he has played against Arsenal and he almost rescued a point for his side on Sunday

Southampton must "go to war" to avoid Premier League relegation but their encouraging performance in the 3-2 loss at Arsenal showed there is a "path to safety", striker Charlie Austin says.

The Saints led early on through Shane Long before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Danny Welbeck put Arsenal ahead.

Austin gave his side hope as he made it 2-2 before Welbeck's 81st-minute header sealed the points for the hosts.

"We need to grow up as men," said Austin, whose side are 18th.

Saints appointed former Stoke boss Mark Hughes after sacking Mauricio Pellegrino with the club one point above the relegation zone on 14 March.

Hughes won his first game in charge, a 2-0 FA Cup sixth round triumph over Wigan Athletic, but his following two matches have ended in defeat with six goals conceded overall and they are now three points from safety with six games left.

However, Austin said the fresh face in the dug-out has been having a positive impact.

"Mark Hughes has given a new identity to the lads," the 28-year-old said.

"That was shown today. For the first half hour we were well on top.

"We can't believe we are down there but that is our own doing. We need to get ourselves out of this situation.

"If we put in performances like that we will get points but we are running out of games."

Austin said scoring twice at Emirates Stadium meant the visitors deserved at least a point, adding: "Last week I didn't see a path to safety but I do now. We have to go to war now."

Four of Southampton's remaining fixtures are against clubs in the top 10, and they host Chelsea next week and champions-elect Manchester City in their final game at St Mary's on 13 May.

Hughes believes his side cannot lose any of those six games to give them the best chance of survival.

Mark Hughes shouts instructions
Mark Hughes' side are also in an FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea on Sunday 22 April

"We have to take points from every game we play now," he said. "Performances like today will help our confidence. We have no fear, we will give it a go and you can see there is plenty of fight in the team.

"We came here with a game plan and you can see the benefit of having a clear week to prepare. For the most part I am delighted with how they executed what we wanted them to do.

"We conceded poor goals, that's the story of our season.

"We showed real intent and purpose in the second half and got back on level terms but we needed to see the game out. That has been a problem all season."

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