Premier League: Ronald Koeman believes Southampton can finish in the top four
Last Updated: 18/01/15 1:44pm
Southampton manager Ronald Koeman remains convinced his side can maintain their push for Champions League qualification.
Two goals from on-loan striker Eljero Elia gave the Saints a 2-1 win away at Newcastle on SNF, to extend their unbeaten run to eight matches in all competitions and lift them back third in the Premier League table.
While many pundits remain sceptical as to whether Southampton can continue their charge towards a top-four finish, Koeman believes his side are showing the qualities to continue to prove any doubters wrong.
"I think we can keep this position," the Dutchman told Saturday Night Football. "We have a lot of confidence - that’s the key for the results in the last few weeks.
"This win is better than the last win again Manchester United because it was the third game of the week and with all the problems we had for this game with injuries and not having the whole squad available, I think the spirit in the team is unbelievable.
"Even after a difficult start where we were quiet, we had the confidence to score. At the moment, we’re not needing a lot of chances to score goals and that makes a difference."
With all the problems we had for this game with injuries and not having the whole squad available, I think the spirit in the team is unbelievable.
Elia's first two goals for the club secured the Saints their third league away win in a row, while Koeman’s defence withstood heavy Newcastle pressure in the closing stages, leaving the Southampton boss proud of how his side held on.
"It was a great performance from the defence to win again," Koeman added. "They (Newcastle) didn’t create a lot until maybe the last 10 or 15 minutes.
"After going ahead the team looked more quiet, more comfortable and we were a little unlucky to be drawing (at half-time) as we deserved so much more at that time.
"I think we deserved the win because in my opinion the better team won today."
Southampton’s recent victories are even more impressive with regulars Morgan Schneiderlin, Victor Wanyama and Jay Rodriguez all included on a lengthy injury list.
As talk on the south coast increases about the possibility of earning a place among Europe’s elite, skipper Jose Fonte is adamant the team won’t be getting carried away.
"We only think about the next game,” Fonte said. “We don’t think about what position we’re going to be in.
“We arrived at the game so tired, as we’ve had three tough games away. So for us to come here and put in this massive effort and performance means the world.
“We’re in a great position with 16 games to go, which we’ll take one by one.”