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Tuesday 24 October 2017

Koeman expecting another tough battle in Stoke

Southampton manager Ronald Koeman expects Stoke to once again provide a tough challenge in their League Cup clash - just days after his side beat the Potters in the Premier League.

A Sadio Mane first-half strike proved the difference between the two teams at St Mary's on Saturday.

That only told half the story as although Saints dominated the opening 45 minutes, they were given some scares towards the end of the encounter before holding on for all three points to move up to second in the league.

Mark Hughes' men get the opportunity to claim instant revenge when they welcome Southampton to the Britannia Stadium this evening and although Koeman is not underestimating the Potters, he does not expect them to try a fresh approach on their home ground.

NO SURPRISES

"I don't think (Stoke will play that differently) - in football you know everything of each other and there are no surprises," said Koeman in quotes reported by the Daily Echo.

"We have our way of playing. The way of playing of Stoke is different. Now we know it's a tough opponent and we have to work hard.

"In the first half on Saturday we showed our qualities and we were the best team on the pitch.

"But if you don't score the second one and you create a lot of opportunities, then you know that until the last second it is 1-0 and it can be very difficult."

While he is keen to progress in the cup, Koeman may opt to rest some of his key players, with his side flying high in the league, but insists he will not make wholesale changes.

"We don't have that quality to change eight or nine positions because the group is not like the big teams in England," he added. "I don't like that because I like rotation, but not to change everybody."

Koeman has a full squad to choose from ahead of the match after no players reported problems from the weekend's 1-0 victory over Mark Hughes' men.

The Dutchman has made changes in Saints' two previous outings in the cup, so fringe players Maya Yoshida, Florin Gardos and Victor Wanyama could be in line for a starting berth.

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