Belfast Telegraph

Southampton boss Claude Puel eager to earn first Premier League win

Manager Claude Puel is confident his Southampton players will finally get the rewards their performances deserve with a first Premier League victory of the season when Swansea visit St Mary's on Sunday.

The Saints kicked off their Europa League campaign with a 3-0 home win against Sparta Prague on Thursday after Puel made seven changes to his starting XI.

While Puel, appointed following the summer departure of Ronald Koeman, feels the squad have produced some solid displays in each Premier League game, turning those into all three points has so far proved illusive.

Both other league matches at St Mary's have ended in 1-1 draws, while there were defeats at Manchester United and then Arsenal last weekend, albeit to a somewhat controversial penalty deep into stoppage time.

Nevertheless Puel has seen enough to remain confident that first Premier League triumph is close.

"It was a good result for us in Europe, now it is important to carry on the same work in the Premier League," said the French coach, who had spells in charge of Monaco, Lille, Lyon and Nice.

"It will be important for us and our fans also, because it is important to keep a good efficient team, to score and be rewarded for all of the many good things we can make in our game.

"We have the possibilities to play against the football of every opponent."

Swansea have secured just one Premier League win so far, but head into Sunday's match on the back of a 2-2 home draw against Chelsea, where it took a late goal from Diego Costa to earn Antonio Conte's men a point.

Puel said: "Swansea are a good team with good possibilities, good individuality. All the time in the Premier League, it is a difficult game because there are many possibilities, many good players who can make the difference.

" They did not play this week, so Swansea can keep good energy to play against us, but it is important for us to stay with good concentration for our game and to just think about what we have to do on the pitch."

Despite the inconsistent start to the season, Puel is relishing life in the English top flight.

" It is a good and exciting challenge," he said.

"I am concentrating on my team, and for my players it is the same, this is a very exciting season, we have to play many games in many competitions and it is important to learn together to play every three days."


From Belfast Telegraph