TALKING POINTS: Koeman’s pre-Hull City press conference

By SFC Media time Thu 30 Oct First team

As Ronald Koeman quickly turned his attentions from Saints’ Capital One Cup victory over Stoke City, the manager spoke to the media ahead of Saturday’s trip to Hull.

Here are the key lines from the briefing, which took place at the team’s base at St George’s Park:

On drawing Sheffield United in the Capital One Cup quarter-finals…

Another away game, the fourth one, but I understand that is cup football. It isn’t the worst away game that we had to play, okay, but it’s cup football – it’s difficult. We look forward, because it’s a good chance to reach the semi-final.

 

We are now in the quarter-final, and we took it (the cup) very seriously from the beginning. We have good results in the cup and that’s always good for the confidence of the players and the team, and we like to continue.

On the mounting fixture schedule in December…

 

That’s good. If you are really a football player you like to play every three days, and we don’t have European football. We need it to develop ourselves, and that’s the best way to be successful – to play and to win.

On visiting St George’s Park…

One of the big reasons that we stay here is because, if not, you have to travel late coming back in the night and to travel again tomorrow after the training, and now we stay together. That’s good for the team building and, ok, we can take now the maximum to recover for this Saturday.

 

[St George’s Park has] great facilities. They are fantastic. We don’t have these kind of facilities in Holland, but it’s wonderful to be here and then to work in that great a facility.

 

On Hull…

They had two good results [from] two difficult away games, at Arsenal and Liverpool, but maybe they need now to play at home and to play maybe more offensive than what they did in the last two games and that makes maybe the game a little bit more open than it was in the last two for them. But we know everyone is a tough one. There isn’t an easy game, and we have to prepare ourselves very good to be good for this Saturday.

 

On Graziano Pellè, who now has nine goals for the season…

He is a great personality. He learns about all the years that he wasn’t playing, wasn’t scoring, and he got the confidence and in the beginning the difference between the level in Holland and the level in the Premier League.

He needs to adapt, like Dušan Tadić, but both players are doing fantastic and showed the qualities. They are one of the group of the great spirit in the team group and I am very happy about the performance of both players.

On Shane Long scoring his first goal for the club…

It’s very important, because he’s a striker and a striker lives about scoring goals. In the beginning he needs some more time to adapt [to] the way how we play, in the position where he play. Yesterday he was a little bit more comfortable, because he played behind Graziano, but it’s a fantastic sign. He’s a good boy, always good spirit and, of course, it’s important for the player to score goals.

 

On Saints’ chances of maintaining their high league position…

Maybe a lot of people are very surprised, but I had from the beginning the belief in the players, the belief in the team, the belief in the team spirit. 

We have good players. We have a good playing football team. We like to play football, and we like to enjoy the people and everybody’s happy, everybody enjoy how we play. I think that’s very important and we know we can keep this. 

I’m not afraid about another situation, because if I watch the rest of the teams, I don’t think that a lot of teams are better than Southampton.

 

On Hull boss Steve Bruce…

 

I played against Steve in my Barcelona team against Man United. We lost 2-1. The final we lost was in Rotterdam in Holland and I remember the fantastic goal scored by Mark Hughes. I made the free kick but I think it was a big fault of the goalkeeper.

Of course I remember that game at home for Barcelona against Manchester United because a result like 4-0 against them means a lot, it even means a lot for Barcelona.

I met him in in the Algarve – I have a house over there and he is visiting every summer. He’s a nice person. They had a great season, he’s doing a fantastic job.

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