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Thread: We were very poor, now we're pretty good. What changed?

  1. #1

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    Default We were very poor, now we're pretty good. What changed?

    Plenty of things you can put it down to, which do you favour?

    We were always a good team, with decent players and a decent manager, but we were in a slump of form and morale?

    We're an average team with a decent manager, enjoying a good run of form and morale, enjoy it while it lasts?

    Danny Ings isn't injured?

    We've finally found the best defensive line up and formation and it's actually very good?

    Ralph was trying to be too clever, but now he's doing the simple things well and playing players where they belong?

    Several suppoerters have finally managed to sort out their lucky tics, realising which is the right way to walk to the stadium, which underpants to wear and when to leave the room to get a cup of tea. If they keep this up, we'll never lose again?

    Something else?

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by norwaysaint View Post
    Plenty of things you can put it down to, which do you favour?

    We were always a good team, with decent players and a decent manager, but we were in a slump of form and morale?

    We're an average team with a decent manager, enjoying a good run of form and morale, enjoy it while it lasts?

    Danny Ings isn't injured?

    We've finally found the best defensive line up and formation and it's actually very good?

    Ralph was trying to be too clever, but now he's doing the simple things well and playing players where they belong?

    Several suppoerters have finally managed to sort out their lucky tics, realising which is the right way to walk to the stadium, which underpants to wear and when to leave the room to get a cup of tea. If they keep this up, we'll never lose again?

    Something else?
    The influence of RK.

  3. #3

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    Stopping just aimlessly passing about at the back, reducing possession into the 40% region, higher tempo, hard pressing, pace up front and getting the ball up quickly to them at the same time allowing our defenders to outnumber opponents attackers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by derry View Post
    Stopping just aimlessly passing about at the back, reducing possession into the 40% region, higher tempo, hard pressing, pace up front and getting the ball up quickly to them at the same time allowing our defenders to outnumber opponents attackers.
    So, basically, better coaching all of a sudden?

  5. #5

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    Ralph stopped putting square pegs into round holes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Colinjb View Post
    Ralph stopped putting square pegs into round holes.
    Djenepo at LB

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Batman View Post
    Djenepo at LB
    How many games did he do that in???


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    Quote Originally Posted by Colinjb View Post
    Ralph stopped putting square pegs into round holes.
    This, coupled with a high pressing game, and a settled starting XI.

    Plus, our first victory at St Mary’s this season came the first time I walked past the statue and gave Ted’s foot a lucky rub and have to do it every game now...

  9. #9

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    I'd say the three biggest factors have been JWP playing his socks off, Jack Stephens being the CB we have needed all season, and us having one of the best performing strikers in the league. That coupled with Armstrong being the missing link we needed to connect midfield to attack, McCarthy playing better than Gunn was, and Bertrand settling back in at LB is what has done it for us.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by TWar View Post
    I'd say the three biggest factors have been JWP playing his socks off, Jack Stephens being the CB we have needed all season, and us having one of the best performing strikers in the league. That coupled with Armstrong being the missing link we needed to connect midfield to attack, McCarthy playing better than Gunn was, and Bertrand settling back in at LB is what has done it for us.
    Dropping Romeu was also key for me as he completely slows our attacks and passes sideways too much.
    Good player but don’t think he is suited to our up tempo style of play.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by stevy777_x View Post
    Dropping Romeu was also key for me as he completely slows our attacks and passes sideways too much.
    Good player but donít think he is suited to our up tempo style of play.
    Donít think just down to Romeu he was probably the only one holding it together at start.
    I think there are multiple reasons, Ralph, coaching, tactics, Cedric and Bertrand in form, Stephens and Bednarek partnership, Armstrong has really helped link it, Long helping the midfield having someone running behind and Ings on fire.
    JWP has been superb lately.


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  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by norwaysaint View Post
    Plenty of things you can put it down to, which do you favour?

    We were always a good team, with decent players and a decent manager, but we were in a slump of form and morale?

    We're an average team with a decent manager, enjoying a good run of form and morale, enjoy it while it lasts?

    Danny Ings isn't injured?

    We've finally found the best defensive line up and formation and it's actually very good?

    Ralph was trying to be too clever, but now he's doing the simple things well and playing players where they belong?

    Several suppoerters have finally managed to sort out their lucky tics, realising which is the right way to walk to the stadium, which underpants to wear and when to leave the room to get a cup of tea. If they keep this up, we'll never lose again?

    Something else?
    Vestergaard was dropped.

    We lost 5 and drew 1 of his last 6 games. Since he was dropped, we've won nearly every game and now there are only 5 teams in the league who've won more games than us. He slowed our game down, confused the rest of our defence and we had to play an extra central defender to cover for him, leaving us short in midfield, which let opposing teams push us back into our own half and take control of the game. Of course that's not the only factor but just look at how much better our central defenders are playing now that he is out of the way. The central defensive partnership of Stephens and Bednarek is the foundation on which our recent success has been built. We now have a very good defence.

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    A combination of finding the best formation and finding the best 11. No surprise that ultimately it's the formation that he's been using for much of his managerial career that ends up bearing fruit.

    I understand why he thought we needed 3/5 at the back but I think we can safely say it's in the past now.

    Just hope Saints/Ralph can be effective in the transfer market to give us a boost and some depth. We all like Djenepo, but turns out he's more of an impact sub. Jury's still out on Adams. Not sure bringing in Danso has helped us.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Manuel View Post
    A combination of finding the best formation and finding the best 11. No surprise that ultimately it's the formation that he's been using for much of his managerial career that ends up bearing fruit.

    I understand why he thought we needed 3/5 at the back but I think we can safely say it's in the past now.

    Just hope Saints/Ralph can be effective in the transfer market to give us a boost and some depth. We all like Djenepo, but turns out he's more of an impact sub. Jury's still out on Adams. Not sure bringing in Danso has helped us.
    Ralph is understandably going to be very cautious in the transfer market. He'll be looking for cover in key positions but not looking for players to immediately replace anyone in our first team now that it is playing so well. We've seen how bringing in expensive flops like Carrillo and Vestergaard can mess the team up.

  15. #15

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    Five at the back has been a safety net for our last couple of managers, but since we don't have world-beaters in midfield or attack (though Ings is making a decent case atm) the security was illusory. Being brave enough to ditch one of the CBs and compete further up the field has made a huge difference, though without Ings' purple patch, I doubt the formation change alone would've made quite such a profound difference. Fine margins n'all that.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nordic Saint View Post
    Ralph is understandably going to be very cautious in the transfer market. He'll be looking for cover in key positions but not looking for players to immediately replace anyone in our first team now that it is playing so well. We've seen how bringing in expensive flops like Carrillo and Vestergaard can mess the team up.
    Scraping two home wins against Norwich and Watford - gave some momentum and 'belief'
    Danny Ings going on a goal run
    McCarthy adding some maturity and authority to the defence
    RH being more conservative in his team choices and strategy having gained too much confidence at the end of last season

    In my opinion

  17. Default

    The positivity of those "nutters" on here who predicted this squad was good enough for a top 10 finish finally rubbing off on the team...?
    Last edited by trousers; 12-01-2020 at 08:27 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by VectisSaint View Post
    The influence of RK.
    I hate to break this to you, but it's been nearly 4 years since Ronald Koeman left

  19. Default

    Did we get in a new coach at some point?

  20. #20

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    4 at the back. A braver midfield selection with JWP forced in to the thick of it. Playing on the front foot. Danny ings.

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    Stuart Armstrong. Settled team and formation. Goals. JWP and Hoj. A spine!


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    Ings is the difference. His goals have proved vital.

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    Players executing the managers strategy rather than hiding and reverting to sideways and backwards passing.
    Fitness looks better and confidence is, naturally, much higher.
    Settled side doesn’t hurt either.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sheaf Saint View Post
    I hate to break this to you, but it's been nearly 4 years since Ronald Koeman left
    Really, **** me, I thought he was still in charge. 🤔

  25. #25

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    A settled team with two proper specialist full backs.

  26. #26

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    Ralph's beard.

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    Motivation, belief, consistent line ups and more energy. The defence needed a back four playing together, especially a CB partnership. A good partnership is more effective than more talented individuals.

    Will people learn? Because every poor run is met with "they aren't good enough, sign new players". But they'd proven they were good enough before and have done again. It's form. It happens and seasons tend to have these twists.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Colinjb View Post
    Ralph stopped putting square pegs into round holes.
    Nutshell

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    Quote Originally Posted by Colinjb View Post
    Ralph stopped putting square pegs into round holes.

    Partly that, partly his sudden U turn on relying on young, fast but hopelessly inexperienced kids and partly reverting to 4-4-2 from the disastrous 3-4-3.

    Once Ralph swallowed his stubborn beliefs about younger players and recalled Cedric, McCarthy, Bertrand and even Long things have been on the up.

  30. #30

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    Settled team is the key, no more questions about why x isn’t getting in the squad, why are we playing x there instead etc. The team picks itself, and most importantly it's balanced.

    What has also helped is our good run has coincided at a time when fixtures are close together, so it's given us an opportunity to really gather some momentum and accumulate points over a short period of time.

    Ings has benefited from a good run like this and looks as fit as he's ever looked. I think we've also managed the fitness of the squad well over the last few weeks, so kudos to the backroom staff too.

  31. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by SaintZamboni View Post
    Players executing the managers strategy rather than hiding and reverting to sideways and backwards passing.
    Fitness looks better and confidence is, naturally, much higher.
    Settled side doesn’t hurt either.
    this is it, he brought a high pressing game that we haven't had since poch! it takes proper training to pull this off, we haved worked on this for months, I think we have the best press in the league now. Players had to change their mind set from Peul and Pell, from possession based to quick ball to the forward channels, it looked awful and very Sam A like at first, kicking the ball forward and loosing possession constantly!. Now the strikers are expecting it and the threat we have with the press in their third is telling. Fullback are pacing themselves better, Bertrand and Cedric were exhausted the last 20 min when pressing in the beginning. The dump it forward, now looks like what RH was trying to instill (see previous write up on RH style before he came here), It is attacking football meant to win with limited resources and skill. I am becoming a fan of it! We had good enough players, they just had to fully buy into RH style which seemed like kick and chase football, but is so much more when you look at how RH has refined it to maximize attack, increased off ball pressure to regain possession and stay compact through the middle. Took awhile for me to understand and like, so too for the players. Now we are all on board and excited about where this can take us!

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    Stinking to a formation and centre back pairing and learning, finally, his best 11. I think whoever coached the b**llocks out of the defence deserves special merit as the turnaround is unprecedented.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Odd Guy View Post
    Ralph's beard.
    This is actually it. He best not shave until the rest of the season.

    I believe all players have to stroke it before heading down the tunnel.

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    For a while we struggled to create and sought to solve the issue by bringing in individual players known to be creative i.e. Moussa. Now we have a style of play that is creative. We create many, many chances per game now. It's the strategy.

    Must be nice for the players to finally see some results for all that fitness work.

  35. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bermuda Saint View Post
    this is it, he brought a high pressing game that we haven't had since poch! it takes proper training to pull this off, we haved worked on this for months, I think we have the best press in the league now. Players had to change their mind set from Peul and Pell, from possession based to quick ball to the forward channels, it looked awful and very Sam A like at first, kicking the ball forward and loosing possession constantly!. Now the strikers are expecting it and the threat we have with the press in their third is telling. Fullback are pacing themselves better, Bertrand and Cedric were exhausted the last 20 min when pressing in the beginning. The dump it forward, now looks like what RH was trying to instill (see previous write up on RH style before he came here), It is attacking football meant to win with limited resources and skill. I am becoming a fan of it! We had good enough players, they just had to fully buy into RH style which seemed like kick and chase football, but is so much more when you look at how RH has refined it to maximize attack, increased off ball pressure to regain possession and stay compact through the middle. Took awhile for me to understand and like, so too for the players. Now we are all on board and excited about where this can take us!
    At last somebody who gets it.

  36. Default

    Having fit full backs helps.

  37. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bermuda Saint View Post
    this is it, he brought a high pressing game that we haven't had since poch! it takes proper training to pull this off, we haved worked on this for months, I think we have the best press in the league now. Players had to change their mind set from Peul and Pell, from possession based to quick ball to the forward channels, it looked awful and very Sam A like at first, kicking the ball forward and loosing possession constantly!. Now the strikers are expecting it and the threat we have with the press in their third is telling. Fullback are pacing themselves better, Bertrand and Cedric were exhausted the last 20 min when pressing in the beginning. The dump it forward, now looks like what RH was trying to instill (see previous write up on RH style before he came here), It is attacking football meant to win with limited resources and skill. I am becoming a fan of it! We had good enough players, they just had to fully buy into RH style which seemed like kick and chase football, but is so much more when you look at how RH has refined it to maximize attack, increased off ball pressure to regain possession and stay compact through the middle. Took awhile for me to understand and like, so too for the players. Now we are all on board and excited about where this can take us!
    Yes., when pressing we now hunt in packs, whereas before it was only in ones or twos. It is easy to play out through a 1 or 2 man press, but much harder through a 3 or 4 man press. 4 at the back allows more players to press than 5 at the back.

  38. #38

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    Biggest things for me are getting a stable team together without keep changing the defence every week in particular. Stephens and Bednarek are getting the chance to actually form a partnership now.
    Tactically the change to the 442 but also playing in a counter attacking way is also huge.. I also find our form seems to be hugely boosted since Shane long got brought back in to play alongside ings. He has his knockers but it’s just working at the moment.. his amazing work rate and tenacity opens up more chances for ings to finish

    Still not really convinced with redmond and I personally think boufal or djenepo playing instead of him consistently would be a upgrade.. aside from that I think keeping this stable team together is the right thing to do at the moment .

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    Quote Originally Posted by pimpin4rizeal View Post
    Tactically the change to the 442 but also playing in a counter attacking way is also huge.. I also find our form seems to be hugely boosted since Shane long got brought back in to play alongside ings. He has his knockers but it’s just working at the moment.. his amazing work rate and tenacity opens up more chances for ings to finish
    Draws lots of fouls as well. Knows when to go down.

    Ha ha, against Leicester I almost wondered if he was relieved when he got bundled over in the box rather than having to take on Schmeichael.

  40. #40

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    JWP going into the midfield two.
    The form of Ings.
    Believing in the high press again and the players fully committing to what Ralph wants to do.
    Going to a back 4 and settled back 4 with obviously Stephens raising his game.
    The 4-2-2-2 being used over the 5-3-2.
    Players not being played out of position.
    Bertrand back in the team as a LB and playing well.
    The 9-0 being a wake up call zenith moment for the team, there were no excuses after that they had to do better, they weren't working hard enough and they had been embarrassed.

  41. #41

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    We've hit a run of form in a league that's poorer than it has been in a while, during that period we played a Spurs side who were in disarray and looking very weak, a Chelsea side who'd struggled at home a lot this season and a number of teams in and about us in the relegation battle (the type of sides we'd already got good results against).

    Winning those game brought back confidence in the squad and players started performing more to their abilities and with less fear of mistakes. Combine that with our worst defender (in vestergaard) being dropped, our better keeper being brought in, and a back four being played in the right positions and we look a much better side.

    Plus of course we have Danny ings, who's in the best form of his life, and JWP who's suddenly understood how to play central midfield.

    For what it's worth we haven't actually turned into a very good side, we've turned into the side we should be, one that will most likely finish somewhere between 10th and 14th, and will have another dip in form at some point this season.

    The squad still needs signings to be a decent team, i just hope this run doesn't paper over the cracks so much that the club don't properly invest in fixing the obvious weaknesses.

  42. #42

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    Mccarthy - proper GK that doesn’t wobble the defence and does the basics mostly right

    Ditching the bizarre positional experiments

    Stephens turning into van Dijk and forming a partnership with JB

    Armstrong

    JWP stepping up

    2 wins at home against struggling sides and executing a perfect game plan v Chelsea helping with confidence and momentum

    Ings being fit

  43. #43

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    most have said it..

    Players

    1. Ings on fire.
    2. Dropping Vestergaard (convinced he can still be a good player though)
    3. Dropping Romeu (and i like Romeu)
    4. Armstrong's influence (has great instincts)
    5. Shane Long's energy (i know it is a cliche at this point - but it makes a difference)
    6. JWProwse's workrate

    Managing

    1. settled formation 4-4-2
    2. settled Starting XI
    2. no more tinkering
    3. better substitution strategy (of late)

  44. #44

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    Also i think the Athletic said something along the lines that in the first period of the season we were pressing like a top 6 side, but defending like a relegation side and not taking chances like a relegation side, and now we are literally the best pressing side in the league, taking chances properly and defending more like a top 10 side.

  45. #45

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    Quote Originally Posted by Batman View Post
    Djenepo at LB
    I understood that somehow because Bertrand was apathetic at that time, only back oriented and a liability for the team. I was very critical about Betrand but now I am a kind fan of him due to his change to the better.

  46. #46

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    Quote Originally Posted by ericb View Post

    For what it's worth we haven't actually turned into a very good side, we've turned into the side we should be, one that will most likely finish somewhere between 10th and 14th ....
    Ralph did not come with the target to finish a season between 10th and 14th. He wants to be near the top with his teams. He will not say this aloud, but you can be sure.

    Being a manager in Southampton/PL is different from being a coach in Bundesliga, because in the PL he has a wider sphere of responsibility and for me it seemed that it took time for him to cope with that.

    What surprised me was that he actually improved some players compared to last season and compared to this season start. E.g. I was very critical of Bertrand, Bendarek, JWP, and Redmond, to name a few. They all became better, as playing indivdiuals. That has nothing to do with 4222 or anything else. Somehow he improved them on an individual basis and now they fit very good into his system. Also the automatisms start to show results (e.g. how you play the ball from the defenders to midfield and bypass the other side's pressing).

  47. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nordic Saint View Post
    The central defensive partnership of Stephens and Bednarek is the foundation on which our recent success has been built. We now have a very good defence.
    That is true to some extent. We should not forget that defending in the last 8 or 9 games started with the attackers. Then came the midfielders and only then the CBs. Therefore the other side's attacks were not such overwhelming for the CBs because all helped to weaken the other attack already. The whole team is defending when necessary and so it is easier for the CBs.

  48. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bermuda Saint View Post
    this is it, he brought a high pressing game that we haven't had since poch! it takes proper training to pull this off, we haved worked on this for months, I think we have the best press in the league now. Players had to change their mind set from Peul and Pell, from possession based to quick ball to the forward channels, it looked awful and very Sam A like at first, kicking the ball forward and loosing possession constantly!. Now the strikers are expecting it and the threat we have with the press in their third is telling. Fullback are pacing themselves better, Bertrand and Cedric were exhausted the last 20 min when pressing in the beginning. The dump it forward, now looks like what RH was trying to instill (see previous write up on RH style before he came here), It is attacking football meant to win with limited resources and skill. I am becoming a fan of it! We had good enough players, they just had to fully buy into RH style which seemed like kick and chase football, but is so much more when you look at how RH has refined it to maximize attack, increased off ball pressure to regain possession and stay compact through the middle. Took awhile for me to understand and like, so too for the players. Now we are all on board and excited about where this can take us!
    I agree totally, good analysis!

  49. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by pimpin4rizeal View Post
    Shane long... He has his knockers
    ...


  50. #50

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    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Wayman View Post
    Partly that, partly his sudden U turn on relying on young, fast but hopelessly inexperienced kids and partly reverting to 4-4-2 from the disastrous 3-4-3.

    Once Ralph swallowed his stubborn beliefs about younger players and recalled Cedric, McCarthy, Bertrand and even Long things have been on the up.
    And the catalyst for all of this was perhaps the "blessing in disguise" 0-9.

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