Monday 19 March 2018

Virgil van Dijk grateful to Ronald Koeman but is only interested in three points

Virgil van Dijk, pictured, will be reunited with Ronald Koeman this weekend
Virgil van Dijk, pictured, will be reunited with Ronald Koeman this weekend

Virgil van Dijk has revealed he is still in contact with former Southampton manager Ronald Koeman.

The 53-year-old on Sunday brings his Everton team to St Mary's for the first time since the summer departure that surprised many on the south coast, Van Dijk included.

The central defender was among the successful signings he made during his two years there, but despite the fact they remain in contact he insists Southampton have moved on under Koeman's successor Claude Puel.

"I don't speak about memories but I have spoken to him but that is between him and me," said the 25-year-old Dutchman. "I am very grateful for everything he has done for me.

"Now he is working for Everton and I am still playing for Southampton. There is something between me and him. (But) I am focusing on my team.

"I was surprised (Koeman joined Everton). Upset is not the right word. It was his decision and in the end I understand a bit of his decision.

"They put him in a difficult situation but I think everyone was surprised but we have moved on. We have a good coach now and he is getting the maximum out of us. It takes a bit of time but I am confident it will work.

"It doesn't really matter (that Koeman is returning). We just have to focus on ourselves and our play and we have plenty of quality to win the game on Sunday.

"It's going to be another big game to win and hopefully we will make that happen."

Van Dijk also insisted he had been told nothing about Liverpool's reported interest in him, and against Everton could again captain the team with Jose Fonte facing a late fitness test.

Dusan Tadic is also expected to miss out, owing to a nose injury, but in his absence Van Dijk has spoken of the need for Southampton to be more clinical in front of goal, after they again struggled in Thursday's 1-0 defeat at Sparta Prague.

"The feel-good factor is around the team but we are disappointed (to have lost)," he said. "We know what we are capable of and we need to have confidence in ourselves.

"We were unlucky, we had over 70 per cent ball possession. That doesn't win games. We dominate games and we should do better. The feel-good factor is always going to be there but we need to stay positive."

Press Association

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