Stekelenburg happy with Vitesse shut out

By SFC Media Fri 31 Jul Club

Maarten Stekelenburg was pleased to mark his St Mary’s bow with a clean sheet which helped Southampton to a comfortable win over Vitesse.

In his first competitive game for his new side, Stekelenburg was largely untroubled over the course of the 90 minutes, but made a key save in the second half in front of the Northam stand.

His low block from Vitesse substitute Milot Rashica’s shot in the 70th minute proved significant, with Saints going on to grab a third goal to give Ronald Koeman’s men breathing space for the return leg in Holland next week.

Stekelenburg gave a modest reaction to his key moment in the game and felt that Saints were good value for their 3-0 win.

He said: “It was on 2-0, I think, the save, so it would have been 2-1. If the end result is 2-1, you get a difficult result there.

“Now with 3-0, we should be okay.”

Goals from Graziano Pellè, Dušan Tadić and substitute Shane Long helped Saints to their first leg victory which gives Saints a strong foothold in the tie, according to Stekelenburg 

“I think the result is fantastic. The first 10, 15 minutes, we didn't control the game,” he highlighted.

“After that, we took the initiative, scored a good goal and then a penalty. I think it was a penalty - I couldn't see from my angle, but there was not a lot of protests.

“I think after that we controlled the game and in the second half we needed to play more forward but we didn't, so they got one big chance again.

“But I am happy with the clean sheet and the result.”

When quizzed on Saints’ chances of an extended run in the UEFA Europa League, Stekelenburg explained that no-one in the squad is looking beyond next week’s trip to Arnhem, where another testing 90 minutes awaits.

“This is only the first round of qualification,” he said. “We had a fantastic in the first game, so we have to finish it in the second.”

The Dutchman is not short on European experience himself, and he believes that the early signs at Southampton suggest that this Saints team can go far in the competition this season.

“I think (they can achieve) a lot. The mentality of this team is really good, if I compare with other teams I have played for.

“In training they work hard and we want to go forwards and get better. That is a really good thing so hopefully we can get a nice season like last year.”

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