Koeman: We kept the belief right until the end

By SFC Media Mon 24 Nov First team

Saints boss Ronald Koeman was pleased his with side’s belief right until the end in their 1-1 draw against Aston Villa at Villa Park on Monday night.

Having gone behind to Gabby Agbonlahor’s goal in the first half, Saints had to show their character to get something from the game, as Nathaniel Clyne scored a late equaliser.

The point extended Saints’ unbeaten run to six games in all competitions, and Koeman was pleased that his side never gave up against a defensive Villa side following the opener.

Speaking to the club's official YouTube channel, Koeman said: “After the 1-0 down, after the misunderstanding in defence, I think we had a good reaction. We showed good character in the second half.

“We had the patience and we kept our organisation in the team. Then you have to be a little bit more lucky with crosses and the final pass. That was not always good enough.

“But the team showed spirit until the last minute and we deserved at least one point. It is not the best result, but after the 1-0 down we deserve a point.

“They always have good spirit. We showed that before that 1-0 down is not the final result and we did it again. It was more difficult after they had the 1-0.

“They defend with 11 players to make the pitch with no space and then it is more difficult to create opportunities. The belief was in the team until the last minute.”

Clyne’s 80th-minute goal ensured Saints of a point, and Koeman was pleased to see his right-back pop up with the equaliser after Villa had kept his attackers quiet.

He added: “Sometimes you need defenders to score that goal when the attackers are maybe not in the best form. Aston Villa defended well against our attackers. 

“You need the quality of the defenders and Clyney had that. We have players who can score, Clyne showed that today. It was an important goal, a good goal.”

A rare defensive error led to Saints falling behind as Agbonlahor opened the scoring, but Koeman backed goalkeeper Fraser Forster, adding: “I have to see the first goal back.

“I think he made a reaction to go out and then he stopped. Then you are too late, but he is a great goalkeeper and he will recover from that fault. He has showed that before, there is no problem.”

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