Koeman: Mistakes in the first half cost us

By SFC Media time Sat 24 Jan First team

Ronald Koeman rued first-half mistakes as Southampton were knocked out of the FA Cup, losing 3-2 to Crystal Palace at St Mary’s.

Despite Graziano Pellè’s opener, his 12th goal in all competitions this season for Saints, and an own-goal from Scott Dann, Koeman’s side were unable to progress to the fifth round.

Three first-half goals from Alan Pardew’s men earned them victory, with Marouane Chamakh scoring twice and on-loan Arsenal striker Yaya Sanogo adding another.

But Koeman admitted his side had not defended well enough as a team during the opening 45 minutes, and despite their best second-half efforts, were made to rue those errors.

“I think the defeat came out of a poor first half defensively,” Koeman told Southampton’s official YouTube channel. “It’s one of the strengths of the team but we did a lot of mistakes.

“They got a lot of opportunities and they scored three times and that’s not usual. You can’t say it’s about the defence, no, defensively we didn’t work together.

“We didn’t have the concentration that we normally have and it’s not normal, with all due respect to Crystal Palace who did a very good job, that they create so many possibilities.

“That’s not normal, we defend much better than we did today. We had a good reaction in the second half but it wasn’t enough. If you play like the first 45 minutes defensively, you can’t win, we did too many mistakes.

“We like to win every game, we have to know our level and we have to be good to win games like that. If there is a part in football that is poor, like today, then you don’t win, that’s a lesson for the players.”

With the likes of Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur all going out too on fourth-round weekend, Koeman felt it showed that all teams must be at their best in cup competitions.

Saints will now have just the Premier League to focus on, and the manager believes that could well be a silver lining from the defeat to Palace.

“For everyone it’s difficult,” he added. “If you are not good you can get beat by everyone. That’s cup football. We know Crystal Palace are on a good run from when Alan Pardew came in, and they showed it.

“Maybe a positive is that we don’t have that programme now, and can focus on the Premier League. But I hate losing, and I like to win every game.

“Maybe after we will tell each other that we have one focus what we need to the Premier League. I hope so, but we have to show it.”

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