Ronald Koeman says Southampton must get better on the road to keep pressure on their European rivals after claiming a 3-1 win over Newcastle United.
Shane Long opened the scoring in the fourth minute before Graziano Pelle and Victor Wanyama put Saturday’s Premier League game beyond doubt, although Andros Townsend did net a stunning consolation for relegation-threatened Newcastle.
The result keeps Southampton’s hopes of Europa League qualification alive, but Koeman feels his players must improve on their travels in order to achieve that aim.
Southampton have lost two of their last three away games and make the trip to Everton next week before visiting Aston Villa.
Koeman said: “It’s very unpredictable the whole Premier League, at home we always create opportunities to score. I’m a bit more worried about the away games and we get now two away games.
“To keep the pressure on the teams above us in the table, we need at least four points out of the two. We have to improve and we have to keep our home level in the two away games.”
On his team’s display against Newcastle, Koeman added: “If a team is fighting against relegation they are not full of confidence if you give them time, give them the domination in the game then they can grow.
“That was the reason for the start, to really from the start to press to play very offensively and to create problems.
“That worked fantastically that, in my opinion was the key to winning the game.”
Jay Rodriguez made his first appearance since October after recovering from a foot injury, coming off the bench in the second half and receiving a warm reception from the home fans at St Mary’s Stadium.
“Amazing, very positive reception for the player from the fans and of course to make the last step he needs game time,” Koeman said of Rodriguez.
“He’s still not 100 per cent but he needs time for that. He will get minutes to improve in all aspects of a footballer.
“I don’t have doubts to start with Jay but the players who started today did a good job, that’s the competition we have. In my mind we need to give Jay that kind of opportunities because that means he will be 100 per cent.”