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Sunday 17 December 2017

Koeman laughs off claim his Saints job is easy

Koeman
Koeman

Southampton boss Ronald Koeman has responded light-heartedly to claims from former Saints manager Mauricio Pochettino that he inherited a "winning team" when he took over at St Mary's in the summer.

Saints were widely expected to struggle this season having lost Pochettino to Tottenham and a number of their star players to fellow Premier League clubs.

But Koeman brought in a host of new faces, many of whom were not household names in England, and has since led the south coast club into the top four with 15 games remaining.

Pochettino's Tottenham sit two points below Southampton in sixth and the Argentinian reportedly told Catalan radio station RAC1 that he gave Koeman a platform for success.

"You have to say that they invested close to 80million euros (£59.8million) in the summer and it was already a winning team on the up," he was quoted as saying.

But Koeman hit back when questioned about Pochettino's remarks ahead of tomorrow's Premier League clash with managerless QPR.

"First of all, it was on Spanish radio so I don't know exactly what was said and if the comments were really like that," said the Dutchman. He is free to give his opinions, I'm happy in Southampton and thank you Mauricio; I have an easy job! That is the reason that I came to Southampton, to have a little holiday with everything organised, a good team and good players. I'm joking! I have no comments."

Given Koeman's overhaul of the squad, which continued in January with the loan acquisitions of Eljero Elia and Filip Djuricic as well as the permanent signing of Ryan Bertrand, the former Feyenoord boss believes he has put his stamp on a side he did admit owes a lot to those who have spent time rebuilding the club before his arrival.

"It is feeling like my side because we had to make a lot of changes in the team," he added. "The way the club is doing makes it easier for the manager, Pochettino, (former owner) Markus Liebherr and (head of football development) Les Reed, they have all done a fantastic job in Southampton."

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