Young Argentinian Paulo Gazzaniga came in for his Premier League debut after Adkins made the big call to leave out Davis, following his concession of 14 goals in four successive defeats.
Adkins told the Daily Echo: "Kelvin Davis has been outstanding since I joined this football club.
"He's the ultimate professional and a major player in what's happened at Southampton in the last few years.
"But I have to make a decision, that's what I'm paid to do.
"I told him on Thursday of my decision and he responded exactly as I would expect - in a positive, professional manner because he's a top pro.
"Paulo has put in a good performance. He caught the ball when he needed to, kicked it well and made a good block in the second half."