Ronald Koeman.

Ronald Koeman must be patient to achieve Champions League football with Southampton

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Southampton manager Ronald Koeman was all smiles on Saturday following his side's convincing 3-1 victory over Newcastle United as a season of frustration nears its end.

The 53-year-old is a renowned cool character yet even he has shown frequent glimpses of his aggressive side this campaign, picking a fight with Arsenal's Arsene Wenger in February and publicly criticising his players in early March.

The Saints have made a valiant effort at securing a Champions League spot this campaign but fallen short thanks to a number of underwhelming and disappointing performances by their high standards.


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Koeman's philosophy since arriving at St. Mary's has been built on defensive stability and played a vital role in the club's rise, proved by the fact Southampton have conceded the least goals (67) in the Premier League since the Dutchman joined in 2014.

But a good defence is only half the battle won, so the next step is to not lose their best players this summer.

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The Saints have seen Luke Shaw, Adam Lallana, Calum Chambers, Dejan Lovren, Rickie Lambert, Toby Alderweireld, Nathaniel Clyne and Morgan Schneiderlin all depart in recent years - fortunately for them, they've found capable replacements.

Even Koeman has criticised the approach of the club's academy, which is renowned not just for producing top, young talent, but also selling it. 

Ultimately, the Dutchman must be patient with the Saints and stay as manager if they're to realise their dream of Champions League football.

Stoke City v Southampton - Premier League

Talks have reportedly begun to extend Koeman's contract as he approaches the final year of his three-year deal and there can be little doubt the 53-year-old is the perfect man to lead Southampton forward.

But he said it himself in a recent interview that steering Southampton into Europe's elite competition is a long-term target, especially so given the money now available to Premier League clubs.

He said: "I think we need to be patient. You can spend more money for even better players, but everyone has more money."

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