TALKING POINTS: Koeman and Fonte on Vitesse

By SFC Media time Wed 29 Jul Club

Ronald Koeman and José Fonte spoke to the media on Wednesday afternoon ahead of Saints’ Europa League clash with Vitesse.

Here’s what the duo had to say:

On what European football means to the club…

Koeman: “I think it’s a nice challenge for everybody because as a player, a club and as a fan you like to have the best. We know all about our Premier League competition but to show the team, the fans, Southampton in Europe is the next step and we are looking forward to it.”

On having the strength in depth for a Europa League challenge…

Koeman: “We hope we will get that experience because always you can ask your questions, but you have to live it, you have to do it. That will be good experience.

“One of the reasons we will bring in more players is because we like to, in the two competitions, show what we can do. For that, you need really good competition in the team. We have the experience of last season where we passed some tough moments.

“We like to have a good balance in the club for the Europa League and Premier League.”

On where this moment will rank…

Fonte: “It’s definitely one of the proudest moments in my career. We have been together for a long time and through all the dark, tough years, now to be leading the team – hopefully – will be a very proud moment. I am extremely happy and want the game to come as soon as possible.”

On the arrival on Steven Caulker…

Fonte: “I think he’s good competition. Having a player of his calibre, a player who has represented England, shown a lot of potential and is still young is going to make the other centre-backs work hard to keep the place in the team.

“It’s very important we have this kind of player in the club. We want to move forward and for that we need competition in every place. I am happy we have signed him and we welcome him to the club.”

On the expectation from the fans…

Koeman: “It’s more difficult because the expectations were fairly low last year and we surprised everybody. It’s difficult to surprise people again. But the fans are amazing in Southampton. They know what the situation is and they don’t ask for European football every season because they are realistic.

“They like the way we play football, the offensive way and that’s good. It’s good because the stadium is sold out at this moment in the holidays and still 32,000 people in the stadium. That’s great support, which we like.”

On Ryan Bertrand…

Koeman: “He is close to being on the bench. He’s still not training with the rest of the players. He needs more time. He looks like he will be back faster than we thought in the beginning.”

On teams not paying the Europa League the respect it deserves…

Koeman: “I think it depends on the club. Sometimes I can understand if you are manager of a big club in the Premier League – you like to play Champions League.

“But for Southampton it is a new situation, a new experience for the players, the club and the fans. I’m not worried about playing in Europe and the Premier League. What you have to do is the maximum to be part of every competition when you get that opportunity.”

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