Graziano Pelle must raise his performances in training if he wants to feature for Southampton again this season, according to Ronald Koeman.
The Italy international was left out of Southampton’s squad for Sunday’s 4-2 victory over Manchester City, Koeman opting for Shane Long to lead the line.
Long struck the opening goal at St Mary’s Stadium before a Sadio Mane hat-trick wrapped up the three points, boosting Southampton’s European hopes.
Pelle has reached double figures again this season after an impressive debut campaign, but Koeman revealed he would need to improve if he wants to be selected in their final games with Tottenham and Crystal Palace.
“We have really good competition within the strikers and I wasn’t happy about the intensity of Graziano this week in the training sessions,” he told a media conference.
“I like to be straight with everybody, and other players deserve more to be part of the 18 today.
“He [Pelle] knows [why he was dropped], I will see what happens next week.”
The players Koeman did select impressed throughout against a City side with one eye on their Champions League semi-final second leg with Real Madrid, but the Saints boss hopes that does not take away from Southampton’s victory.
He added: “I was impressed with the team performance, from the start, good intensity, good football, we created a lot of problems for them with the movement of Sadio and Shane.
“We were very productive, with even more chances to score than four.
“You can talk about the changes in the Man City team but that is not fair, give all the credit Southampton because the performance was fantastic.”
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