Koeman urges Saints to focus
Published 23/04/2015 | 16:31
Ronald Koeman called for Southampton's players to show maturity, nous and respect after Victor Wanyama's future came under question.
This weekend brings with it arguably Saints' biggest match of the season, with the visit of Tottenham likely to be key in the fight for European qualification.
Mauricio Pochettino's first return to St Mary's adds extra spice to a match, ahead of which his successor felt the need to hold a team meeting to refocus his players' minds.
Wanyama's claims that Arsenal were interested in his services were the catalyst and, while defending the 23-year-old by saying the story was "bull****", Koeman called for his players to show more common sense.
"You know always in the last part of the season there are rumours talking about interest in players," the Saints boss said. "I don't like to say every time it's true or it's not true.
"It's important that everybody knows his position in the club. They have contracts - you can't talk about moving because you have a contract. That's not respectful to the club.
"We spoke about that, that we need that focus. If we don't have really that focus, we can't bring the level what we normally bring this season."
Such speculation about the likes of Wanyama, Nathaniel Clyne and Morgan Schneidelin brings back memories of last summer's talent drain from St Mary's.
Koeman has repeatedly insisted a similar situation will not arise this time around, although he is wise enough to know the south-coast club's place in the food chain.
"On one side it's normal because, okay, we are Southampton," Koeman said.
"We are not Man United, because they are always talking about new players, and normally in teams like Southampton, a little bit more down, they are talking about interest in players of Southampton.
"We know that, but it's up to the press. They can write and they can say what they want, but no problem.
"We have to keep that spirit together and that was my message to the players.
"We can't do anything about that. You have to look out if they ask you that kind of questions. That's your job.
"You're not a young kid. You have to respond, and if you respond you have to know what you respond."
Koeman says he will not be enforcing a media ban to keep his players out of trouble - something he accepts is more difficult now given the power held by agents.
The former Holland international also understands the ambitions his players may well harbour, admitting he spoke out of turn a few times when he was younger.
"Of course, when I played in Holland, okay, I was looking to play in a bigger team - that's normal," Koeman said.
"If you are not really in the highest level and you get opportunities to play in a higher level, okay, you like it, of course. Everybody likes the best.
"Everybody likes to play Champions League football - that's normal. I'm not surprised about that."