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Southampton boss Ruben Selles admits time is running out for his relegation-threatened side ahead of a tricky trip to Premier League leaders Arsenal.

The division’s bottom club travel to the Emirates Stadium four points from safety with seven games to go on the back of a six-match winless streak.

Spaniard Selles concedes he has faced an uphill battle since succeeding Nathan Jones in February but retains belief the club can scrape survival.

“It has been desperate from the very first second,” he said of the situation ahead of Friday evening’s clash with the Gunners.

“The only thing is we are running out of time and the games are less and less in our account.

“We put some good performances but we didn’t transform those into points and hopefully we can change and then start to get some points together with some good performances.

“If we play our game and put in the performance that we need, we have options to win the game.

“We have a good team in front (of us) but almost every week we have good teams in front.”

Southampton have already taken points off table-topping Arsenal this season following a 1-1 draw on the south coast during the final weeks of Ralph Hasenhuttl’s tenure.

Mikel Arteta’s men faded from a fast start in that game in October, a trend which re-emerged over the past fortnight as the Gunners squandered two-goal leads in 2-2 draws with Liverpool and West Ham.

Selles has been analysing the north London club’s visit to St Mary’s in the hope of exploiting the hosts’ weaknesses and securing another surprise result.

“We didn’t control well the first 20 minutes of the game and that’s when they are really strong,” he said.

“We have seen now the game against Liverpool, the game against West Ham when quite early they get 2-0 up and I think it was the same trend in that game (at Southampton) where we were able to change the game.

“Some of the situations that happened in that game have been there for them in the whole season.

“And we will see if we repeat a little bit of what we did before or we will change and adjust based on what we are doing right now.”

Southampton are the joint lowest scorers in the division after managing just 24 goals all season.

Selles insists he will not alter his team selection based on the views of others, with some Saints fans calling for £18million January signing Paul Onuachu to start in the absence of injured striker Che Adams.

“I don’t make my line-up or my actions in terms of what anybody else thinks,” he said.

“It’s not only about having one nine that can score the goals. You need to create the situations to be able to be competitive and to be in the game until you can score that goal.

“I understand the concern is that some players have been scoring some goals in some different environments as our boys did it in other teams.

“But this is a completely different challenge for all of us and it’s a completely different challenge for all of them.

“The solution is not to put one, two, three or four strikers; the solution is that the situations that we create playing as a team, we need to score it as a team. This is not about one name.”

On-loan Ainsley Maitland-Niles is ineligible against his parent club, while Adams, Mohammed Salisu, Tino Livramento and Juan Larios remain sidelined.