Koeman: Early goal changed the game

By SFC Media time Sat 28 Feb First team

Ronald Koeman admitted Saido Berahino’s early goal for West Brom made the trip to the Hawthorns even tougher for his side, as they lost 1-0.

The hosts soaked up plenty of Saints pressure following the early goal, looking to break on the counter. But the strike from Berahino, inside the first 90 seconds, was enough to seal the win for Tony Pulis’ side.

Koeman says his side didn’t do enough to get themselves back into the game, and when they did create chances, a lack of composure cost them.

“It was more difficult after one minute,” Koeman told Southampton’s official YouTube channel. “They score the goal and you know that they will defend and drop back.

“We had a lot of ball possession and I think we were a little bit better in the second half than we were in the first half but it wasn’t good enough to create chances.

“In the two or three chances that we had we were not sharp enough in the box.

“The early goal changed it because they like to play like that, out of good organisation, waiting for one or two moments for the good counter attack.

“Then you know you have to play on a small part of the pitch and you have to be good and patient. At least in the second half we kept our positions to make the pitch wide and try to move the ball.

“We were maybe unlucky with two chances but we didn’t create more and that was about their good defence. The goal made them comfortable and made it difficult for us.”

The manager switched back to the 3-5-2 formation he has deployed on occasion this season, but reverted to a back four with just over 20 minutes gone following the early goal.

Eljero Elia came on to replace Florin Gardos and Koeman says the change was made because three centre-backs were no longer needed as the hosts defended deep.

“The reason we started with three at the back was to build up the game,” he explained. “I expected two attackers and that was to give us sureness in defence to play out of that system.

“In other games when we play that system it went well, but after 20 minutes we didn’t need three centre-backs. They dropped everyone back and that was the reason to change the system.”

Koeman now believes there is added importance on Tuesday night’s game against Crystal Palace at St Mary’s. “We like to win games, at least at home.

“That we have to change and of course the game on Tuesday is important. We need to forget what happened and have to have the belief and spirit for Tuesday.”

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