Ronald Koeman admits he was in shock on Saturday afternoon after seeing his Southampton smash eight goals past Sunderland.
The Saints have made a fine start to the new season, despite losing a number of their star players during the summer transfer window. They also lost head coach Mauricio Pochettino, to Tottenham Hotspur, but made a shrewd appointment when they turned to former Holland international defender Koeman to succeed him in the dugout.
Four wins from their opening seven matches, which also saw them concede the least number of goals in the division, placed them third in the table ahead of this weekend, with just Manchester City and leaders Chelsea ahead of them. And they have maintained this position following a remarkable afternoon at St Mary’s when they thrashed the Black Cats.
A Santiago Vergini own-goal set the home side on their way after 12 minutes, and goals from Graziano Pelle and Jack Cork gave them a comfortable half-team lead. After the break they merely piled more pressure on, with a Liam Bridcutt goal, a second from Pelle, and each from Dusan Tadic, Victor Wanyama and Sadio Mane wrapping up an 8-0 win.
“I’m still in a little bit in shock,” Koeman told Sky Sports. “Not about the second half, I think we played very good and scored some great goals, but about the first 20 minutes because I wasn’t very happy about our performance. Sometimes football is strange. I am disappointed for Gus Poyet because they played well at the beginning and had some good chances.
“We deserved to win and I am very proud of the team to fight until the last second to score the goals. That is the spirit of the team. I am proud of the ambition of the team. They are always fighting for more and we need that. I am proud of everyone. The clean sheet is important. We have a strong defence and a superb goalkeeper and you have to look at the attackers when we don’t have the ball because it is superb organisation.”
Are Southampton genuine contenders for a top-four finish, or will they fade away? Let us know what you think by joining the discussion below.