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Norwich City v Southampton: Koeman seeks clinical edge

Ronald Koeman is demanding an improvement in front of goal when Southampton travel to Norwich City on Saturday.

Southampton hammered Premier League leaders Arsenal 4-0 on Boxing Day, but squandered several chances when they let the lead slip in a 2-1 defeat at West Ham on Monday.

Manager Koeman believes the first half at Upton Park was among the best football Southampton have produced this season.

However, the Dutchman says his team must find a more clinical edge if they are to improve on their current standing of 12th.

“I think it was maybe one of the best 45 minutes we played this season. I was pleased by that, but disappointed by the result,” he said ahead of the trip to Carrow Road.

“If we are so dominant like the first 45 minutes we need to score more. If you create five or six good chances you have to score at least two goals, if you don’t and only score one the opponent is still in the game. 

“We have to kill games, that’s the difference with the big clubs. If they play on the level we did for 45 minutes they score more than one goal.”

Southampton were dominant 3-0 winners in the reverse fixture in August, but Norwich shocked Manchester United 2-1 this month then rebounded from a 3-0 drubbing at Tottenham by beating rock-bottom Aston Villa 2-0 last time out.

And Koeman issued a note of caution to his side, adding: “The win at Manchester United away was a big result not only for the three points, but it gave them belief they can stay in the Premier League.

“They are strong at home and showed the spirit they need to stay in the Premier League.”

Norwich’s win over Villa left Alex Neil’s side three points clear of the relegation zone and saw them reach 20 points for the season, halfway to the 40 mark that most managers target for survival.

But Neil believes Norwich can play better than they did against the bottom club.

“I didn’t think it was a great game against Aston Villa, I think it was fine margins but I thought once we got our noses in front we are good at holding on to that lead and seeing games out and hitting teams on the break and that proved to be the case. 

“You could probably argue that we played better against Tottenham than we did against Villa.” 

Southampton are once again without Graziano Pelle (knee) and Cedric (knock), while Oriol Romeu serves a one-match ban.

Matt Jarvis (knee) remains on the sidelines for Norwich.


Key Opta stats:

– Norwich City have won just one of the last 10 meetings against Southampton in all competitions (W1 D5 L4).
– Shane Long has scored six goals in his last nine league appearances against Norwich.
– Norwich have picked up as many wins in their last three Premier League games (W2 D0 L1) as they had in their previous 14 matches in the competition (W2 D5 L7).
– The Canaries have conceded just three goals in their last five Premier League games at Carrow Road, but have only found the net five times themselves in these games.
– Southampton have lost five of their last seven Premier League games (W1 D1 L5).
– Away from home, Southampton have picked up just two victories in their last 16 in the Premier League (W2 D5 L9) and scored just 12 goals in these matches.
– Wes Hoolahan has now provided more assists for Norwich City than any other player in Premier League history (17).  
– Norwich have kept just two clean sheets this season; a joint league low with Aston Villa; although the Canaries kept one in their last match (2-0 v Villa).

Thu 31 Dec, 2015
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