Koeman says Saints "must win" at Stoke

Ronald Koeman has stated that the Saints must beat Stoke City this weekend as Southampton bid for European football next season.

Koeman says Saints "must win" at Stoke
Koeman's side have had a dip in form of late (photo source:getty images)

Southampton manager Ronald Koeman says his side must beat Stoke City this weekend if they wish to secure European football for next season.

The Saints have hit a minor dip in form of late, having not won in their last three matches with defeats to south coast rivals Bournemouth, as well as Chelsea.

Koeman's men were also held to a 1-1 draw in their last match against relegation threatened Sunderland, in a match where captain Jose Fonte was sent off.

Prior to the recent disappointments the reds had gone on a six-match unbeaten run in which didn’t concede a goal, with much of the praise going to goal keeper Fraser Forster who has been awarded Barclays Premier League Player of the Month.

Koeman emphasises importance of tie

With the Saints currently two points and one place behind Saturday’s opponents, Koeman knows the importance of the tie if they wish to achieve their goals. The Dutchman said: “It’s a must win game, because our ambition is to go for Europe.

If you don’t win then you pay for it at the end of the season," he added. "It’s important after gaining one point against Sunderland last week to get a good result against Stoke.

The last time Southampton scored over one goal in a match is back in January against West Brom (photo source: getty images)
The last time Southampton scored over one goal in a match is back in January against West Brom (photo source: getty images)

Need for goals

Koeman also urged his team to increase their scoring tally, after failing to score more than one goal in a match since January 16th in a 3-0 win over West Bromwich Albion.

The Saints boss has called on his attacking players to produce, he said: “We need goals from Graziano Pelle, we need goals from Shane Long, and we need the creativity of Dusan Tadic, the quality of Sadio Mane." He added, "We need that because it really makes the difference."

One man who will be unable to lend a hand on the scoring front is recent signing Charlie Austin, after he suffered a hamstring injury during the disappointing result against Bournemouth. The striker is set to be out until after the international break.