Ronald Koeman is not expecting an easy ride in Saturday’s contest with Queens Park Rangers at St Mary’s.
Koeman’s high-flying Southampton team entertain a Rangers side yet to pick up a point on their travels this season, but the Saints manager has called for consistency again a visiting team keen to get off the mark away from home.
“Every game is tough, difficult,” he told reporters on Thursday afternoon.
“They (QPR) had two difficult away games: Man United and Tottenham. They play on a good level in home games, and protect the ball because sometimes they play 4-4-2, and sometimes they can play 4-3-3. We will see on Saturday.
“We have to prepare ourselves in the best way and we have to be fresh on Saturday to play on good level to beat them.”
In recent matches, Saints have made positive openings to games with an attacking style, and the manager explains that choosing the right time to play further forward has been a big part of his training methods.
“You need players on the pitch who decide to do the right pressing on the right moment,” he explained.
“Pressing starts always with the attacker and sometimes difficult for them because they make actions have to come back make aggressive pressing, but it’s a team quality. It’s my philosophy because I’m not a coach that waits to defend. Sometimes it’s difficult because you can’t press for 90 minutes, it’s not possible.
“We do sessions to wait for the right moment to do pressing, that needs time and sometimes we did that against Arsenal on a good way sometimes it wasn’t because too much space between the defence and the midfield.
“A big part of our training sessions in pre-season was to play more up, press faster and aggressive way. In the beginning we had time in sessions. It’s always difficult when you play three times in a week and we don’t have time to do that, but little by little we have to learn that.”
After confirming James Ward-Prowse will be sidelined long-term, Koeman added that he hopes to call upon two of his defenders who didn’t feature in midweek.
He revealed: “Maya [Yoshida] didn’t train with group this morning, so maybe tomorrow we will make the decision on whether he can be a part of the group for Saturday.
“Toby [Alderweireld], after some assessment, is looking positive. If there’s no reaction [from] the session of today, then tomorrow he can be part of the squad for Saturday.”
Tickets for Saturday's game are still available! Buy online at tickets.saintsfc.co.uk, by phoning 02381 780 780 or visiting the St Mary's Ticket Office.