Sport Soccer

Thursday 19 April 2018

Koeman relishing return to bench

Ronald Koeman will return to the Southampton bench on Saturday against Everton
Ronald Koeman will return to the Southampton bench on Saturday against Everton

Ronald Koeman has revealed that the frustration he felt at having to watch Southampton's 2-2 draw with Newcastle from afar led to him shouting at the television.

The Southampton manager was forbidden from travelling as he recovered from surgery after rupturing his Achilles so could only watch his team's opening Barclays Premier League fixture from his home in Holland.

He remains reliant on crutches and expects to soon progress from a cast to a boot but said that his greatest relief will be to return to the bench when Saints play Everton at St Mary's on Saturday.

"It was strange, because normally I'm part of the game, and watching television is not the best you can do," Koeman said. "Even worse, if the team is not playing good, it makes it more difficult.

"In the first half [I shouted at the television], because we didn't play well, we did a lot of mistakes in our ball positions.

"If you stay at home you don't have control. I had contact with Scott [Waters, the performance analyst]. It was two times in the first half.

"I didn't really like to have to contact the bench because we know what we want and how we like to play, but it's more difficult, I like to be part of that, you can shout, you can do something, you can do substitutes if you're not happy but staying at home is different.

"We didn't have a long time to prepare for the Newcastle game after the Thursday game [a 2-0 win in the Europa League away to] Vitesse [Arnhem], to recover and prepare the team. For them it was strange, because it was the first time without the manager, and also strange for the technical staff.

"You think it's more easier [to be at the game] because you think you're more part of the team than you are watching television."

Koeman still wishes to recruit an additional central defender before the end of the transfer window and is reported to retain an interest in Napoli's Kalidou Koulibaly.

The manager refused to confirm if he was looking at the Frenchman, but confirmed that he expects striker Emmanuel Mayuka to leave the club and that midfielder Gaston Ramirez could follow him.

"I know the defender [Koulibaly]," he said. "But if we look to bring in a defender we have the whole list, and you're talking about a list, but nothing else. What I don't like is talking about rumours, names. We will see what happens.

"There was contact with the Russian team [Krylya Sovetov for Mayuka], yes, but I'm not sure if there is any deal about that. But the same story: there's no future [here] for the player.

"[Ramirez is] close to be fit, and that's the latest news. I don't know [if he'll see out the transfer window], the situation for Gaston is difficult, he knows that. It was already difficult last year, and it's still difficult because [the] first options in his positions are other players."

Press Association

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