Belfast Telegraph

Ronald Koeman set for talks over his Southampton future next week

Ronald Koeman has revealed he plans to discuss his future with Southampton's board next week after his team secured a top-six Premier League finish with their 4-1 win against Crystal Palace.

Sunday's victory in their last fixture of the season took them up to fifth place, and they could yet remain there if Manchester United fail to get the result they require when their abandoned home game with Bournemouth is rearranged.

To finish three points off the top four represents a significant success for Koeman, particularly given a poor mid-season run left the Saints in danger of joining the battle against relegation, and only highlights the strengths that are reported to be interesting managerless Everton.

The Dutchman has one year remaining on his contract at Southampton, but after two successful seasons since he succeeded Mauricio Pochettino in difficult circumstances, the club could seek to extend his stay, and asked when he will discuss his future, the 53-year-old responded: "Next week - after this weekend - (but) I don't know when.

"I'd like to stay here, I have still one year of contract, and from the start my understanding with the fans was incredibly good. Of course, it's all about the results for the manager, but I think the support from the fans, the respect of the fans - from everybody at the club - is amazing.

"But the club likes to talk about the future. I had always in Holland a one-year contract. I'm not so worried about the future. If the club likes to know about the future after next season, okay that's what we'll talk about.

"Our finishing this season is stronger than last season. What we did this season, it's maybe more than the maximum we can do as a team, and a big compliment to the players.

"The difference was we had really tough competition between the players, and the strengths of the team. That's the difference between my first season and the second season, the substitutes and the bench are really first-team players, more than last year.

"We were very clinical (against Palace) and had some luck on the shoulders. We did our job, 4-1, three points, and West Ham, Liverpool, and maybe Manchester United missed a chance."

In the defeat that came via goals from Sadio Mane, Graziano Pelle, Ryan Bertrand - from the penalty spot - and Steven Davis, Palace lost momentum in the build-up to next weekend's FA Cup final against Manchester United at Wembley.

Jason Puncheon scored their only goal w ith a fine finish, when they were already 2-0 down, but manager Alan Pardew refused to be disheartened by their performance, believing referee Michael Oliver - particularly when awarding Southampton's penalty for a challenge on Mane that appeared to be outside the area - made crucial mistakes.

"I was a bit disappointed with the referee's decisions," Pardew said. "The Pelle goal was a definite push (on Adrian Mariappa), and he actually looks round at the ref as if to say 'Did you see it?' And he should have seen it, but he didn't.

"The penalty decision again, which is outside the box, and the linesman overruled him. His gut feeling is it was outside, he stood on the edge of the box for a little while, and the linesman gave that, and he got it wrong.

"The game was really balanced at 2-1, it was really open, a really good game. I'm not making any suggestion we deserved to win, but it certainly could have been tighter and closer, and we could have eked a draw out if we had taken our chances."


From Belfast Telegraph