Southampton may be sitting second in Premier League table but, remarkably, Ronald Koeman feels they should have even more points on the board.
When the Saints lost head coach Mauricio Pochettino, who left for Tottenham Hotspur, and a host of key players during the summer, many pundits predicted they would struggled to retain their top-flight status. But the appointment of Koeman is looking like a shrewd one, whilst the Dutch coach has made a number of signings which have helped banish the memory of their previous stars.
Dusan Tadic, the Serbian playmaker, has shown enough to suggest he would walk into many a top team throughout Europe, let alone England, and Italian striker Graziano Pelle has been in such form he has earned an international call from which he scored. Goalkeeper Fraser Forster has also been an excellent signing, and Ryan Bertrand, Saido Mane and Toby Aldeweireld have all impressed.
Six wins from their opening nine fixtures, including that 8-0 thrashing of Sunderland last week, has Southampton in second place and, thanks to Robin van Persie’s late equaliser for Manchester United on Sunday, they are only four points behind leaders Chelsea. Koeman, though, can’t say he is satisfied with their start, as he feels they should have an even greater tally on the board.
“You can make up your own mind, but up to now maybe we deserve more points; we lost at Liverpool when we deserved more and maybe you can say the same when we lost at Tottenham,” he said. “[Manchester] City have a great team, Chelsea are probably the most complete side at the moment, but the rest have not shown until now that they have a better team than us.
“It’s too early to say what we would like to win this season – when expectations are high, the best solution is to live day by day. It is only a start. Maybe there is an opportunity for us because Arsenal and Liverpool have a tough programme with [UEFA] Champions League football to play on a regular basis, but they have 25 or 26 players in their squads who are all internationals.”
Koeman is right to say it is too early to talk of what the Saints can achieve this season, and it would be incredible if they were to finish in the top-four. But with Arsenal yet again failing to impress, Liverpool stuttering without Luis Suarez, United still getting used to life under Luis van Gaal and Pochettino’s Tottenham currently in the bottom half of the table, why not set your sights high?
Do Southampton have a realistic chance of finishing in the top-four? Let us know what you think about their chances by joining in the discussion below.