Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino fears his players are ruining their good looks with their lengthy Premier League winless streak.
Struggling Saints were held to a 1-1 home draw by Brighton on Wednesday evening, leaving them 12 games without a league victory stretching back to late November.
They remain in the relegation zone on the back of that result, increasing the pressure on their boss.
They face a big game at bottom club West Brom on Saturday and speaking about the dismal run of form, Argentinian coach Pellegrino said:
“When you lose everyone is unhappy, when you win everyone looks really handsome – blond [hair] and blue eyes. But when you lose you are not too handsome.”
Pellegrino arrived at St Mary’s from Spanish side Alaves last summer, replacing Claude Puel, who was sacked after securing an eight-placed finish and leading the team to the League Cup final.
Asked if he was confident of turning the current situation around, Pellegrino replied: “I like the adrenaline, I like the pressure, I like to talk to my players even in a difficult situation like right now. It’s part of our life.
“I feel alive in this job, but who wants to be on the side of the loser? Nobody. But sometimes, if you want to play the game, you have to lose. You will smell better when you win.”
Southampton could hand a first start to £19.2 million signing Guido Carrillo at The Hawthorns following his cameo appearance against Brighton in midweek, but fellow forward Manolo Gabbiadini may miss out due to a hip problem, while striker Charlie Austin remains sidelined with a hamstring injury.
Pellegrino thinks a sharp improvement is possible on the south coast and said he had late night talks with chairman Ralph Krueger following the Albion game in a bid to address the recent slump.
“The chairman is here and last night [Wednesday] we were talking until midnight all together, trying to give our ideas, trying to hear the people, trying to empathise with everybody,” he said.
“We are confident we are well prepared, most of our players are physically fit and ready. We’ve got a big test Saturday and in two or three weeks everything can change. We don’t need two years.”