Be positive, Koeman tells players

By SFC Media time Fri 05 Dec First team

Ronald Koeman says his players must show confidence when they welcome in-form Manchester United to St Mary’s on Monday night.

Ronald Koeman says his players must show confidence when they welcome in-form Manchester United to St Mary’s on Monday night.

Saints go into the match having suffered back-to-back defeats, losing at Arsenal in midweek after a 3-0 humbling by Manchester City last Sunday.

Despite the end result of Wednesday’s game, which was settled by an 89th-minute goal after injury had reduced Southampton to ten men, Koeman says there was clear improvement in the side’s performance from the previous match.

And the Dutchman says that should give the squad cause for optimism ahead of Monday night’s fixture.

“We can see from the two games in a row that we’ve played against big teams that we have to be good, and we have to show confidence,” Koeman told Southampton’s official YouTube channel.

“That was the difference in our ball possession between the Arsenal game and the Man City game. I think we played much better [against Arsenal].

“It was another way to lose than the way how we lost against Manchester City – our ball possession was better than in the game against City, and we had our chances. 

“We were a little bit unlucky and we said after the game that, if we’d played until the last second with 11 against 11, I had a good feeling that we’d win one point in the game.

“The players were disappointed about the result – that’s normal and it has to be that way, in my opinion – but we spoke about the game on Thursday morning when we had a recovery session, and they were positive. 

“They had the feeling that it was a good team performance that night, and that gives us a little bit more confidence.”

Nevertheless, Koeman expects a stern test from a United side breathing down his players’ necks – Monday’s visitors sit one point and one place behind Saints in the Premier League standings.

“It’s not an easy one because it’s Manchester United – a big name with big players – but it’s a challenge for us to try to win against them.

“They are strong. Little by little, they’ve come back into the position where they have to stay in the table. 

“They’ve won their last four games, and that for sure will give them a good ambition, a good spirit and a lot of confidence. We know in the Premier League that everybody can beat another team. 

“We can’t change that we lost the last two games, but we have to understand that we played against big teams. We have to show our qualities.”

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