Belfast Telegraph

Koeman staying grounded

Southampton manager Ronald Koeman says he will not be carried away by the club's best start to a top-flight campaign for 26 years.

The Saints moved into second place in the Barclays Premier League with a 1-0 victory at Swansea on Saturday, Victor Wanyama's late winner finally ending the resistance of hosts who had Wilfried Bony sent off six minutes before half-time after picking up two yellow cards.

It was Southampton's third straight win after victories over West Ham and Newcastle and represents a remarkable start for Koeman, who succeeded Mauricio Pochettino in the summer and had to rebuild the playing squad following the departures of several high-profile players.

"The start is fantastic for us and it's nice for the fans and for everybody who loves the Saints," Koeman said.

"But as the manager, as the technical staff, we have to keep quiet and keep continuing what we are doing until now.

"It's a great start in the league and maybe nobody did expect it, but we believe in our ambition and spirit.

"Sometimes you have to be a little bit lucky to stay in that place in the table but it's not easy, we have to keep fighting every day for the results."

Koeman lost the core of the squad which took Southampton to eighth place in the Premier League last season after arriving from Dutch club Feyenoord.

Adam Lallana, Luke Shaw, Rickie Lambert, Calum Chambers and Dejan Lovren all completed big-money moves and Koeman had to act quickly both in the transfer market and on the training ground to silence the doubters who predicted a season of struggle for the Saints.

Summer signings Fraser Forster, Ryan Bertrand, Dusan Tadic, Shane Long and Graziano Pelle have all hit the ground running but even the former Netherlands defender admits he has been taken aback by how well Southampton have started under his command.

"It has surprised me a little as in the summer we had to make a lot of changes in the team and normally you need time to build up a new, strong team again," said Koeman.

"But from the beginning we are playing with good organisation and the spirit and ambition is in the team.

"We play in a positive way and I think it's very important to keep the philosophy of the team and the club and until now it is going very well."

Swansea's defeat was their second on the bounce after opening the league campaign with three straight wins.

But defender Neil Taylor felt Swansea were unfortunate not to get a point and insisted the mood in the dressing room was upbeat.

"We're disappointed not to get a point but we just have to bite the bullet and move on," Taylor said.

"We've been playing really well, so it's not as if we've been playing badly.

"It's not as if we're in turmoil and we're conceding goals and can't score. It's nothing like that.

"It's obviously back-to-back losses but it's two games when we've played well, so it's nothing to be worried about."

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