Saturday 16 December 2017

'We have no fear of change' - Saints boss tells of rebuilding process

Southampton manager Ronald Koeman is not preoccupied with finishing in the top four
Southampton manager Ronald Koeman is not preoccupied with finishing in the top four

Southampton have moved on from a turbulent summer, with their impressive Premier League form owing to the fact everyone is now singing from the same hymn sheet, according to chairman Ralph Krueger.

The Champions League-chasing Saints are defying pre-season sceptics who anticipated a campaign of struggle after manager Mauricio Pochettino was poached by Tottenham and a host of first-time regulars were signed by league rivals. But Krueger has overseen a superb and immediate turnover of key staff and players, and with Ronald Koeman doing a great job as manager, the side currently sit fourth in the table.

The summer exodus will again come into focus on Sunday as Southampton welcome Liverpool to St Mary's, with the Reds having signed a trio of players from the south coast last year. Dejan Lovren, as well as academy graduate Adam Lallana and prolific forward Rickie Lambert all moved to Anfield, while Luke Shaw departed for Manchester United and Calum Chambers was signed by Arsenal.

However, in the build-up to Lovren, Lallana and Lambert's return, Krueger insists the club have completely moved on and - as proven with the signings of replacements such as Graziano Pelle, Dusan Tadic and Ireland's Shane Long - Southampton can attract top talent.

Canadian Krueger said: "We want to build a sustainable model. If you fit into that, great, if you don't we will find someone else. We have no fear of change."

Krueger was full of praise for Koeman's impact. "We didn't interview anyone else, it was his straightforward honest approach that appealed," said Krueger.

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