Sport Soccer

Thursday 18 September 2014

Peerless Morgan sinks Hammers

Published 30/08/2014 | 21:32

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Ronald Koeman, pictured, would be only too happy to retain Morgan Schneiderlin's services

Ronald Koeman sang the praises of Morgan Schneiderlin after the Tottenham target showed he still has Southampton's best interests at heart by sinking West Ham.

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Schneiderlin recently claimed his six-year stay at Southampton had been destroyed in an hour - but he needed less time than that to leave West Ham's defence in pieces at Upton Park and set up a 3-1 win for manager Koeman's first three points in England.

The Hammers had led through Mark Noble's deflected effort, but France midfielder Schneiderlin levelled on the stroke of half-time, curling home after his initial shot was blocked by Joey O'Brien.

It was Schneiderlin again who put Koeman's side ahead in the second half, with Graziano Pelle's maiden Premier League goal rounding off a fine away day for Southampton.

Southampton chairman Ralph Krueger and Koeman have both been steadfast that Schneiderlin will not join the list of high-profile departures from St Mary's.

After Krueger gave an interview declaring Schneiderlin would be kept at the club, even against his wishes, the player took to Twitter in late July to write: "6 years of an amazing journey #SaintsFC DESTROYED in 1 hour !!!"

But Schneiderlin has started all three league games so far, and Koeman said on Saturday evening: "I am very pleased with his attitude over the last few weeks.

"He accepts the situation the way it is. If he didn't accept it he wouldn't reach the level that he did today.

"I understand his situation. If a player gets an offer from a big club I understand that but he is happy now and he accepts the situation - he is a fantastic player."

Despite former Southampton boss Mauricio Pochettino being keen on taking Schneiderlin to join him at Tottenham, Koeman is almost certain the 24-year-old will remain a Southampton player when the transfer deadline closes on Monday night.

"If it is up to me it is 100 per cent. Ninety-nine per cent from the club that he will stay," he said.

"It is always difficult when you have a lot of changes in the team and I have to wait until the start of September to know what players I have in the squad. But it gives us a good feeling after today."

For West Ham, it was a disappointing afternoon, a week after a 3-1 victory at Crystal Palace.

A penalty shoot-out defeat to Sheffield United saw them knocked out of the Capital One Cup at their first hurdle and Sam Allardyce's side were not at the races once again as they looked for back-to-back league wins.

"We weren't good enough," Allardyce said.

"Southampton taught us a lesson, we weren't sharp enough and didn't retain the ball as well as they did, close down as well as they did and gifted them two goals.

"As much as they were in control and on top of the game, we've lost two very stupid goals from set-pieces."

One bright point for West Ham was the pre-match announcement that they have signed Barcelona midfielder Alex Song on loan.

The former Arsenal man will spend the remainder of the campaign at Upton Park and Allardyce wants to see the Cameroon international "kick a few backsides".

"I hope he can bring a bit of leadership as well as his quality play," Allardyce said.

"The lads are not opening their mouth enough. They all talk about what they should do before the game in the dressing room and in training, but when they go out on the pitch they don't talk to each other. It is clear that their communication is zero.

"Somebody has got to get a grip and open their mouth. If it is a short corner get someone out there. It is not difficult for someone to look around and organise the team. It doesn't appear that anyone is analysing what the situation is and not have the desperate defending that we had.

"Having spoken to him he looks a leader to me and kick a few backsides on the field. If they are not playing as well as they should do he will get them motivated."

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