Ronald Koeman was happy with the level of intensity on display in Saints’ pre-season game at Bournemouth on Friday evening.
His team were 1-0 winners on the night at the Goldsands Stadium, a result which maintained the team’s 100 per cent record in competitive matches as the preparations for the new Barclays Premier League season continued to take shape.
Koeman felt that the contest with the Championship side provided a good test, and one which was a step up from the previous warm up fixtures.
“I think we played very well in the first 45 minutes and we did what we talked about in the meeting before the match. We like to play high up and press, which we did very well, and we need that intensity in the matches because it’s pre-season.
“It was also against a good team in the Championship – [it] is nice to see as well that Bournemouth like to play football. Our fans picked a really good match with 1,300 people coming to see us – I’m very happy about that.”
A clean sheet for the returning Artur Boruc, who played the full 90 minutes in Dorset, meant that Saints have gone four matches without conceding a goal, and Koeman paid tribute to the fitness levels on show.
“We are happy about that because that will bring points and you need clean sheets to have good results,” he said. “It was good defending that we did today.
“It was a tough game, it was not really a friendly. There was a high spirit with a high tempo to the match and we need that.”
Youngsters Matt Targett and Lloyd Isgrove formed the left side of the Saints side for most of the game, and Koeman was impressed with the way that both men contributed to the win, with the latter grabbing the only goal of the game after 20 minutes.
“It was a fantastic header – he took a great position for a good cross from Clyney (Nathaniel Clyne),” said the gaffer. “He got in front of the right back and it was a great goal.
“I like him as a player because he’s fast, he can play one against one and he can create, which he has done very well. He’s young he can develop himself and I’m very happy with his performance from the past two weeks.
“In pre-season there are some players a little bit more in the spotlight than others, but if you look to the left side of the team with Matthew Targett and Lloyd Isgrove they were two of our youngest and they played very well today.
“We played with the best team that we have at this moment and that’s OK. There were more minutes for the players, no injuries and a clean sheet against a good opponent.”
While he has faith in youth, the Saints manager also reminded everyone of his intentions to strengthen the squad, and accepts that patience will be required.
He said: “I believe in our young players, but you have to be realistic because we need the competition in the squad as well, and for that we have to bring some players in.
“We have to be prepared for the first game against Liverpool and I have a lot of patience because I know that the club are working very hard.
“Every manager likes to have from the beginning the squad that he will have finally, and we know we have to bring some players in. We are working very hard for that to bring some players in, and we are very close to doing that. We need to be quiet and patient but we are well prepared for doing that.”