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Friday 15 December 2017

Saints boss Koeman looking 'down rather than up'

Southampton's Sadio Mane celebrates scoring during the Barclays Premier League match at Loftus Road, London
Southampton's Sadio Mane celebrates scoring during the Barclays Premier League match at Loftus Road, London

Southampton manager Ronald Koeman insists he is still looking "down rather than up" the table, despite Saints climbing to third with a 1-0 victory at QPR on Saturday.

Sadio Mane scored a 93rd-minute winner at Loftus Road to put Southampton two points clear of fourth-placed Manchester United and only four behind Manchester City.

"I still look down more than up," Koeman said.

"Maybe in three weeks it will be different, but we are watching the teams around us at the moment and behind us. That's our focus, rather than second or first place.

"It's not all about the top four places in the table.

"We are trying to reach a European position for next season, that is the target.

"Seventh place may be enough for that or sixth."

Southampton looked on course for a third consecutive game without a win, after defeats to Crystal Palace in the FA Cup and Swansea in the Premier League.

Mane's injury-time strike, however, continued the team's charge for the Champions League spots ahead of crucial matches at home to West Ham and Liverpool.

"How we played today and the result was very important," Koeman said.

"In a season you always have some key moments and one of these was today.

"After last week's defeat, we needed to show how we like to play football and to have a good result and get three points.

"That's very good. It's our fourth win away in a row and that's fantastic."

The only negative for Southampton saw defender Matt Targett taken to hospital following a head collision in the first half.

"The doctors say he is under control," Koeman said.

Defeat for Rangers means they remain second bottom of the table after four consecutive league defeats.

Chris Ramsey and Kevin Bond took charge for the game and the duo will remain in the dugout for tomorrow's match at Sunderland as the club searches for a permanent successor to Harry Redknapp.

"It's very difficult when you're at the bottom," Ramsey said.

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