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Koeman happy to dream of cup success for Southampton


Ronald Koeman manager of Southampton

Ronald Koeman manager of Southampton

Getty Images

Ronald Koeman manager of Southampton

RONALD Koeman knows Southampton face a long road to Wembley, but that will not stop the Dutch coach dreaming of lifting the FA Cup there in the May sunshine.

The Saints host Championship promotion-chasers Ipswich today looking to build on their New Year's Day victory over Arsenal which kept them fourth in the Premier League.

Along with thousands of other football fans in the Netherlands, Koeman grew up watching the famous old competition on television and, having taken over at St Mary's in the summer, the former Barcelona European Cup winner cannot wait for his first live taste of FA Cup action.

"When I was a young kid watching the FA Cup finals in Holland, it was always a special day and maybe if I have one of the dreams, then maybe it is a dream to be playing in an FA Cup final," said Koeman.

"I spoke once to Ruud Gullit (about it), and he had one FA Cup final as the manager with Chelsea, and it was very special (for him).

"But it is a long way to Wembley, we will have to beat a lot of teams, so it all starts on Sunday."

Koeman is not expecting to make any major changes, having fielded strong sides in their run to the quarter-finals of the Capital One Cup.

"We have to analyse the games of Ipswich to prepare the players," he said.

"It will be tough against Ipswich, they are a good team, a strong opponent and one of the leaders in the Championship.

"Every game we take seriously, we did that in the League Cup, and we will do it in the FA Cup."

Koeman continued: "We gave the youngsters some minutes in the Premier League, it is not different.

"I gave Matthew Targett the confidence and the time to play in the League Cup, but I believe in young players.

"I don't like to change the side a lot because I believe in the spirit of the team and what we are doing now."

Southampton, meanwhile, have yet to confirm the extent of the injury suffered by midfielder Sadio Mane against Arsenal.

The Senegal international limped off having put the Saints into the lead, and was set to leave for the African Nations Cup this weekend.

Sunday Indo Sport