Koeman expects reaction and defensive improvement

Date published: Friday 4th December 2015 5:57

Ronald Koeman: Preparing players for Sunderland clash

Ronald Koeman: Preparing players for Sunderland clash

Ronald Koeman is expecting a reaction from his Southampton side after their midweek thrashing at the hands of Liverpool in the Capital One Cup.

Saints endured a nightmare quarter-final against the Reds, going down 6-1 at St Mary’s despite scoring in the first minute, and Koeman wants a response when they host Premier League strugglers Aston Villa on Saturday.

“I expect a reaction tomorrow,” the Saints boss said. “That is the most important, everyone knows what we have to do. We all want to have that stable organisation in defence.

“It was one difficult night and the next day was difficult. As a manager I have to analyse the game about how it is possible to concede six goals.”

He added: “We have to defend better than we did as a team and that starts in front. The whole defending performance needs to be better.”

Villa, who are bottom of the table and have not won for 13 league games, will arrive on the south coast without Jack Grealish after the young winger was left out for a second successive week.

The 20-year-old has been omitted by Villa boss Remi Garde as a punishment for partying after his side’s 4-0 defeat at Everton in November.

Koeman agrees with Garde’s stance and says it is important for young players to appreciate their responsibilities.

“It’s difficult for young talented players,” he said. “They need to learn from their mistakes, (it is right) to punish players as they need to learn from it.

“Sometimes young players need more time to know what they can do and the responsibility they have. It is important. If you learn from that is good, if you don’t it is not.

“You have to know your responsibility as a football player.”

The former Holland international thinks learning those lessons is vital within a dressing room environment, highlighting that he encourages his squad to take ownership and have a voice.

“When I started here, I (told the players) ‘I am the coach’ but I believe in the opinions of players,” Koeman added.

After the 6-1 loss to Liverpool, Koeman sat his players in the dressing room and got them to talk about the match together.

“It is so easy to tell them to go left or go right but I want them to tell me which way they want to go,” he said.

“It is so important. I am here to help the players, sometimes you need to push but it is a good interaction.

“They are not stupid, they know what they need to do better and it is good that after Wednesday we can show a reaction.”

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