Koeman: Southampton brimming with confidence

Rob Conlon
Graziano Pelle: Striker has scored nine goals in all competitions

Graziano Pelle: Striker has scored nine goals in all competitions

Ronald Koeman admits Southampton are full of confidence having gone eight matches in all competitions without being beaten.

Southampton have moved up to seventh in the Premier League on the back of their run – the highlight of which being the 3-1 victory at reigning champions Chelsea – and our now only four points behind fourth place Manchester United.

Koeman’s side host Stoke City on Saturday and the Dutchman believes Saints have the ability to cause the opposition plenty of problems.

“I think the key to this run is a good organisation. We had a difficult start and you always need time to improve. The confidence in the team is key,” he said.

“We have different ways to attack. With Graziano Pelle we can play the long ball. We have offensive full-backs and we are strong in our set-pieces.

“We are close to the level that we want, but we have to work hard and it will be a tough programme coming up. But we’ll be ready.

“It will be difficult against them. But they know it also difficult to beat Southampton. We are looking forward to it, even though it is a difficult match

Former Valencia and PSV boss Koeman will be boosted by the return of striker Shane Long, although he admitted he was surprised to see the 28-year-old appear in the Republic of Ireland’s 2-0 victory over Bosnia-Herzegovina which secured qualification to Euro 2016.

“I was very surprised he played 40 minutes. OK if the player is fit, but he had not trained for five or six weeks,” he added.