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Southampton v Everton: Koeman sees room for improvement

Ronald Koeman expects Southampton to cut out the mistakes as he prepares to return to the touchline for Saturday’s Premier League encounter with Everton.

Koeman missed the south-coast club’s 2-2 draw at Newcastle United last weekend after undergoing ankle surgery, but confirmed he will be at St Mary’s Stadium on crutches this weekend. 

Southampton needed a Shane Long header 11 minutes from time to salvage a point in their first top-flight game of the season and Koeman saw plenty of room for improvement in that performance and the 2-0 UEFA Europa League win at Vitesse last week.

He said: “I wasn’t impressed because I was unhappy about the first half. I think already in the Vitesse match we had too many mistakes, the same in the first half [at Newcastle].

“All the dangers of Newcastle came from faults. The second half the reaction of the players and the physical state in the last 15 minutes was very good because we had the best chances to win the game.

“Starting the season with a draw away against Newcastle isn’t a bad result but normally, if we play on our level, we have to win the game.”

Southampton eased to a 3-0 home victory over Roberto Martinez’s side last season, but were beaten 1-0 at Goodison Park in April and Koeman is expecting an entertaining clash.

“We know the qualities of Everton. We know how they like to play. I think it will be an attractive, open game because they like to play offensive football,” he said.

“Maybe they did not have the best result last weekend [a 2-2 draw against Watford] at home to start the season, but they are strong with good individual qualities in the team and it’s a difficult one.” 

Everton have won just once in their last 14 visits to Southampton and Martinez is determined to secure a rare three points on the south coast.

“I think the last two visits to Southampton, they’ve been really tough games for different reasons and I don’t think they’ve been just football aspects,” said the Spaniard

“You feel that things that could go wrong, go wrong. Two years ago we had two own goals very early and then you look into our history and I think in 22 years we’ve only had two wins.

“Historically, it’s a very tough place for us and I think it becomes an extra challenge. We want to embrace that.

“We need to be conscious of the difficulty of the trip and make sure we change the stats that are so much against us.”

Southampton could hand a debut to new signing Oriol Romeu following his move from Chelsea this week, but recent recruits Jordy Clasie (ankle) and Steven Caulker (sinus infection) will play no part.

Ryan Bertrand, Fraser Forster and Florin Gardos are also sidelined due to knee injuries.

Everton could welcome back Gerard Deulofeu, Muhamed Besic and Aiden McGeady, while Kevin Mirallas could also feature after suffering a knock against Watford.

England left-back Leighton Baines misses out due to an ankle injury which may require surgery.

Thu 13 Aug, 2015
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