TALKING POINTS: Koeman's pre-Arsenal press conference

By SFC Media Mon 01 Dec First team

Ronald Koeman spoke to the media on Monday afternoon ahead of Southampton's Barclays Premier League game away at Arsenal on Wednesday night.

Here are some of the key topics that were discussed:


On whether he will consider starting Toby Alderweireld in midfield…

We know that’s an option, because we played 11 against 11 last Saturday and the second part of the game was that Toby played in midfield, because we had to start with Steven Davis.

But if there happens something at the beginning then you need other options and that was one of the options. I will think about it because tomorrow we will have our last session and we will know exactly which players are available for this Wednesday.

It’s one of the qualities of the player that he can play in different positions and he showed yesterday that he can be good in a midfield position, in a defending role. It’s always a good option for the coach.

On whether Saints have the mentality to achieve a top four finish…

The club don’t have the experience like other teams have. The players don’t have that experience that the players of the big teams have – that’s the difference.

We like to be that. The club likes to be in the position where we are and everybody likes to keep that position. That’s difficult, because we have different players. We have younger players and we don’t have that experience.

That’s always important to be on the top and we like to be like that and we work for that, to say one day we will be with the big teams, but it’s a long way to go.

On whether there’s anything he can do for the players without experience…

We can talk about that, we can show them clips from the game, but finally that is for the player by himself to change and to learn off that, and we speak about that.

I think we have a fantastic spirit in the team. We have very good professional players. They know exactly what they have to do to be a good professional but we have to learn – we have to learn from the mistakes of yesterday.


On his previous battles with Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger…

I have a lot of respect for the career of Wenger, because he’s a long time in Arsenal. He’s doing a fantastic job, but what I said before, teams like Arsenal, if they don’t fight for the title there are some critics.

It’s always nice to play against him, because he likes to play offensive, good football. That means that you will get space to play by yourself.

And we had a fantastic game in the League Cup that we won. That gives us confidence, but to play and to win against that kind of team you have to be good.

What I said after yesterday, yesterday wasn’t good enough. We made too many mistakes and if you make those kinds of mistakes you can’t win against top teams.

On whether it is a pivotal week for Saints…

We know that it’s a tough programme, we know that, but every game in the Premier League is a tough one. Still we have a great start to the season.

We have 26 points and that’s not changing my opinion after yesterday. We know our qualities and we know our weakness.

I was disappointed about the last two goals of yesterday, we have to do that better. It was not normal because we haven’t conceded a lot of goals and we haven’t made many mistakes. Then we have to give a good reaction about that.

On injuries and the battle in midfield on Wednesday night…

Morgan is not ready for Wednesday because he needs a scan about his adductor in his right leg. Then we have to wait about the results of the scan. For sure he isn’t available for this Wednesday.

Another midfield player, Jack Cork, was not available yesterday, he will be on Wednesday and we have Harry Reed as a young midfield player.

Still James Ward-Prowse is injured, and that’s our possibilities. We don’t have the bench and we don’t have that same number of players as the big teams, we know that.

We have to be good in defence, they have great strikers who can score in every moment of the game and of course the midfield is important.

The control and domination is always out of the midfield players so you have to do a lot of things good to have a good result.

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