Ronald Koeman says Southampton will be coming up against a confident outfit when Crystal Palace visit St Mary’s on Tuesday night.
Alan Pardew’s side have moved up to 12th in the table following his arrival at Selhurst Park, while they beat Saints 3-2 in the FA Cup back in January.
Koeman says he’ll be looking for a reaction from his side against the Eagles as they look to return to winning ways ahead of another extended break from action.
“We have to react,” Koeman told Southampton’s official YouTube channel. “We have qualities that we can make sure we have a good reaction. That starts against Crystal Palace. We talk a lot but we have to show it.
“We need to prepare ourselves. It’s a difficult one. We know Crystal Palace are a very good, strong side. They’re a confident team.
“They have in the last four or five away games some very good results, it’s a difficult one. We had a good lesson in the FA Cup.
“We know what we can expect but it’s all about ourselves, to put really the best team and everything that we have – then I’m very positive.”
Against Palace in the FA Cup, Saints conceded three first-half goals as the Eagles built up a 3-2 lead before the break, and Koeman was unhappy with his side’s defending that afternoon.
He also says goals like the one conceded on Saturday against West Brom need to be eradicated if they are to get back to winning ways.
“It was very frustrating because in that first 45 minutes against Crystal Palace we showed poor defending,” Koeman added. “That was strange because normally, and still, we defend well.
“But to win you have to score goals. You can always receive one, not in how we received the goal against West Brom though. That’s about attention.
“We spoke about that, we can’t accept goals like that. That’s the message to the players and the fans, that we are fighting for the highest position possible and it starts on Tuesday.”