Koeman: Saints and Swansea are the blueprint

Ian Watson
Ronald Koeman

Ronald Koeman: Says Saints and Swansea's methods should be copied

Ronald Koeman believes Southampton and Swansea are examples of how to conduct “football business” on and off the pitch.

Both sides have captured the imagination in recent years, with the south Wales side winning the Capital One Cup and establishing themselves as a Premier League force after promotion in 2011.

Swansea’s attack-minded philosophy and ability to replace outgoing stars is akin to that of Southampton, who have improved season after season since themselves returning to the top table three years ago.

The teams go head to head in the league on Saturday at St Mary’s.

Last term represented Saints’ best-ever Premier League campaign, just like Swansea, and both sides are looking to kick on after more impressive summer business.

“Like us, Swansea in my opinion is an example how you have to do the football business,” Southampton manager Koeman said.

“They have a very good coach and manager, they try to play attractive football.

“They lost some good players, signed some other good ones and are still fighting for a high position on the table.

“We can compare Swansea to our team and that’s maybe the reason it’s a difficult game for both teams.

“Look back at last season and we won in Swansea and they won here. It’s close and it’s detail that makes the difference this Saturday.”

Southampton’s Holland midfielder Jordy Clasie remains sidelined for the clash against Garry Monk’s side, although Ryan Bertrand could make his first start of the season after recovering from a knee injury.

The left-back made his return off the bench in Wednesday’s 6-0 mauling of MK Dons, which earned a Capital One Cup last-16 tie at home to Aston Villa.

The performance in Milton Keynes pleased Koeman, especially the determination to fight until the end, and makes him confident they could replicate Saturday’s opponents’ success of 2013.

“We like to win and will do everything to win the League Cup,” the Dutchman said.

“We know it’s difficult because still all the big ones are in the tournament but, maybe finally with some home games starting with Aston Villa, we maybe have a chance to reach the final of the League Cup which is a dream for the club and the fans and we will do everything to do that.”

Graziano Pelle missed the trip to MK Dons after a kick to the foot but is set to return for the visit of Swansea, while Jay Rodriguez will hope to continue his impressive return to action after missing last season recovering from a serious knee injury.

“He’s showing his qualities and we know and Jay by himself knows he was a long time out of real competition and you need time to come back on your level,” Koeman said.

“Little by little he’s more close to 100 per cent and these kind of games are important for the player to get the minutes and the physical and the quality to be 100 per cent.

“At this moment he gives competition to other players in front.”