Wednesday 23 August 2017

Koeman deserves respect

Everton manager Ronald Koeman. Photo: Peter Byrne/PA
Everton manager Ronald Koeman. Photo: Peter Byrne/PA

Southampton manager Claude Puel believes former boss Ronald Koeman deserves respect when he returns to St Mary's Stadium today. The Dutchman is unsure of what reception will await him when he heads to the south coast for the first time since leaving the club to take over at Everton in the summer.

Koeman was the subject of some supporters' ire when he decided not to honour the third year of his contract.

"I think he did very good at Southampton last season, to get the players to be able to [qualify] for playing European games. I have a lot of respect for his work," Puel said.

Southampton suffered a 1-0 defeat in their Europa League tie away at Sparta Prague on Thursday night, which leaves them needing a result in the final Group K fixture against Hapoel Be'er Sheva if they are to progress to the knockout stages. Despite rotating his squad, Puel has struggled to produce regular wins in the Premier League following their European ties, having lost away to Hull just a few days after a memorable victory over Inter Milan at St Mary's.

He said: "It is always difficult to play after a European game. You play only two days after an important game, that is very short.Recovery is very important with this many games, but we are happy to be able to play all of these games.

"For Southampton, it is the first time this squad has played many games, every three days.

"Now it is important to adapt to this situation and to find a solution with character and I hope the quality to take points."

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