Ronald Koeman spoke to the media ahead of Southampton’s game against Arsenal in the Barclays Premier League at St Mary’s.
Here’s what Koeman had to say:
On a selection headache at left-back…
My opinion is Ryan [Bertrand] is the first choice on that position but I’m very happy with Matt Targett because he’s doing very well. He’s learning what playing in the Premier League means and he gets his chances to play.
He played already some League Cup games, he played against Chelsea and he’s learning, he’s developing himself. Ok, we need the backup and if it’s a backup that’s a young player of the club that’s the best.
I’m happy about his performance against Chelsea. He played on a high level and that means a lot for a young player.
On how he has enjoyed his first Christmas in England…
It was a fantastic period, it was difficult, it was very tough for the players to play the second game in 48 hours. You saw that in the second half against Chelsea when we had it difficult, but we showed an unbelievable spirit.
“It was nice, I look forward to January 1st. It’s also my first time to be part of a football game, but we know it, we take it and we enjoy it.
On the Southampton fans so far since he joined…
The fans are amazing from the first day of this season. I heard about last season it wasn’t sold out in the first or the second round of the FA Cup. That means that still more the fans are behind the team and behind the players.
It’s very enjoyable to be the manager of this club, because everything is positive, but we know that we have to keep working on that and to keep this position but we have.
It will be very difficult, because there are more teams in the Premier League who can show their qualities, but until not it’s a fantastic first part of the season.
On Artur Boruc extending his loan at Bournemouth…
It was not an easy one but when I came I knew it was his last season of his contract and we like to bring in a new goalkeeper. Our priority was Fraser Forster – about his age, about his future, a new goalkeeper.
He showed this first part of the season why we changed that and that’s not against Artur, because Artur did great performance from the club, it was a decision about the future of the club and the future of the team.
On Arsenal’s style of play…
I like it because I am a coach who likes to play football and to create and to dominate. All that qualities is Arsenal, trying to play and it is nice to see.
It is short playing but it is a very good fast transition when they get the ball. It is always nice to see Arsenal team playing football. It is a philosophy of the coach and he is successful with that and he is buying players for that system, that’s good to see.
On whether his side can finish about Arsenal…
Maybe it was unrealistic before the season and maybe that changed a little bit how we played until now. Sometimes it is about details, about moments, about chances, but we have a very strong organisation against Chelsea.
I think we have the spirit because we are now half in the season and we have played against all the teams. I believe that we can fight for a top place in the league.
On how new signing Eljero Elia has settled in…
He’s settled very good. His family is already here in Southampton. He did some tests about his physical state and you can see that he missed a little bit of rhythm of playing games but he’s physically strong.
He’s doing extra sessions to be good physically and we know that we can use the player from the Manchester United game. He has to show his qualities to the rest of the players.
The team atmosphere is fantastic and all the new players always adapt very fast to the players and there are no issues. He speaks the language and that makes everything a little bit more easier.