Ghana defender Mohammed Salisu has sought to explain his sudden dip in form at Southampton by blaming it on his fasting for Ramadan.
The 23-year-old has impressed for large parts of the 2021/22 season, earning plenty of plaudits for his performances from pundits, fans, and his manager Ralph Hasenhuttl alike.
But Salisu has enured some tough games with the Saints lately, making a few costly mistakes against Watford and Manchester City after returning from a minor injury, which caused him to miss the 4-0 defeat at Aston Villa in March.
Delivering an honest assessment of his recent performances, the centre-back admitted that he is still learning and working hard to improve.
“For me, in football mistakes come. When it comes, you have to stay positive and try to believe in yourself. Try to sit down and see what’s not right so you can make it better.
“I had a couple of bad games, I will say. But I’m still working hard to get back to my best,” he told the Daily Echo.
Salisu – who is yet to be capped by Ghana – then revealed why things have not been easy for him.
“I’m doing Ramadan and it’s not easy. Doing Ramadan and at the same time playing games, I think it’s a little bit affected me. But I’m still working hard and I will get back strong, to get back to my best.”
Since the start of April, Muslims worldwide have been observing the month-long ritual which sees the deprived of food or drink during daylight hours.
Despite this, Salisu reflected positively on his season as a whole, having made 33 appearances in all competitions for Southampton so far and established himself as one of Hasenhuttl’s key men in the St Mary’s side.
Rating the current season, he stated: “Great, I would say great.
“Four games left, it’s not going to be easy. We want to finish in a good place so we have to work hard every day and fight for every game to make sure we can.
“It’s been nine games and we’ve only had one win. I think the fans are expecting to win this Saturday, so we’re going to give our best and fight for everything to get what we want.”
“This is my first full season. Everything has been fine and we have four matches left and we have to focus on these to finish good and to help the team be in a better position.”