English Premiership

Saints eye top four finish

2015-01-12 08:14
Ronald Koeman (Supplied)
Ronald Koeman (Supplied)

London - Considered relegation fodder at the start of the season, then written off again after a woeful run near the end of the year, Southampton have enjoyed proving people wrong all season.

Now, after Sunday's 1-0 victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford, few doubters will surely remain.

After a mass exodus of key players and staff during the close season, many expected Southampton to struggle after their eighth-place finish in the previous campaign.

Yet Ronald Koeman, who arrived as manager from Feyenoord in June, envisaged no such problems.

Southampton made a flying start to the season and were hot on the heels of early leaders Chelsea before dropping off the pace after a run of six matches without a win.

Many suspected four straight league defeats would initiate an unstoppable slide, especially with niggling doubts about their squad strength, but the Saints have fought back and are now unbeaten in their last five league games.

Their success has been built on an intelligent brand of football that tolerates no superstars or inflated egos.

Against United, defenders Nathaniel Clyne, Jose Fonte, Florin Gardos and Ryan Bertrand stood strong to ensure Louis van Gaal's expensively-assembled forward line never had a shot on target.

At the other end, Dusan Tadic kept a cool head to score the winner, showing why the Saints are genuine Champions League contenders.

"If you play against a big side you need spirit and quality but you also need belief in yourself and your team mates and we showed that," Koeman told Sky Sports.

"We have had good organisation all season, we have 11 clean sheets in 21 games and that is key to being successful.

"We have aspirations (of securing a European finish), but at the beginning of the season you have to wait. Now we can say we fight for a European place."

Glenn Hoddle, who managed the Saints from 2000-2001, believes victory at Old Trafford will give Koeman's side confidence for the rest of the season.

"This will give them massive belief," Hoddle said.

"I think they are a group of players now that believe they are good enough to get in the top four. I have a sneaky idea they will make the top four because of the belief they have now."

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Fixtures
Friday, 22 February 2019
Cardiff City v Watford, Cardiff City Stadium 21:45
West Ham United v Fulham, London Stadium 21:45
Saturday, 23 February 2019
Burnley v Tottenham Hotspur, Turf Moor 14:30
Newcastle United v Huddersfield Town, St. James' Park 17:00
AFC Bournemouth v Wolverhampton Wanderers, Vitality Stadium 17:00
Leicester City v Crystal Palace, King Power Stadium 19:30
Sunday, 24 February 2019
Chelsea v Brighton & Hove Albion, Stamford Bridge 14:00
Arsenal v Southampton, Emirates Stadium 16:05
Manchester United v Liverpool, Old Trafford 16:05
Logs
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team
Vote

Who will claim the Premier League title at the end of the 2018/19 season?

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter

Featured

The 2018/19 Absa Premiership season is in full swing. Will Mamelodi Sundowns retain their title? Or can one of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Wits, SuperSport United - or another team perhaps - snatch glory from the Brazilians? Be sure to visit Sport24 for all the latest news!

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.