Belfast Telegraph

Capital One Cup: Southampton can march all the way to Wembley says Ronald Koeman

By Declan Warrington

Ronald Koeman has targeted Capital One Cup glory after Southampton's 2-1 victory over struggling Aston Villa took them into the competition's quarter-finals against Liverpool.

Despite a disjointed performance after the manager made seven changes to his team, classy finishes from Maya Yoshida and Graziano Pelle secured a comfortably victory well before Scott Sinclair's penalty for Villa deep into stoppage time.

Ambitious Southampton last reached the final of a major competition when they lost 1-0 in the 2003 FA Cup to Arsenal, and, in the knowledge that he has a stronger squad and an improving team, Koeman is confident that an appearance in February's final could prove within reach.

"One of our ambitions is to reach a final, to give our amazing fans an opportunity to go to Wembley," the manager said before it was revealed his team would host Liverpool in the last eight.

"That is what every player and manager wants to do, to go to Wembley and fight for a trophy, even the Capital One Cup, because that for us is an important one.

"You know it's difficult. Everybody takes it seriously. It is an honour to play at Wembley and to play for a title. Okay, Man City (who on Wednesday defeated Crystal Palace 5-1) have more possibilities to win. But we have shown already we can beat the big ones."

Last night's defeat represented Villa's first fixture since Sunday's sacking of manager Tim Sherwood and Kevin MacDonald replacing him on a caretaker basis.

The latter at the least appeared to inspire improved morale but MacDonald regardless believes that securing Sherwood's successor should be their priority.

"It has been quite hectic," he said. "I was disappointed because Tim brought me in. Tim was very good to me.

"(It's) better for the club (to get a new manager) sooner rather than later. If they ask me to stay on for Monday's game (in the Premier League at Tottenham) fine by me."


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