Koeman fears Saints will face relegation battle

LONDON • Southampton could soon find themselves fighting at the wrong end of the Premier League table if they do not get back into the habit of winning games, manager Ronald Koeman has said.

The Saints, who are 12th in the league table, are on a five-game winless streak in all competitions.

They host Tottenham Hotspur at home today - a team whom they have not beaten in the league in more than a decade.

After Tottenham, Koeman's men face Arsenal, West Ham and Norwich City.

Koeman said his side could find themselves in the middle of the scrap to avoid relegation if they do not come out on the other side with a few victories.

"It's all about what happens in the next coming weeks. I'm always positive (so) I think we will get good results," said Koeman, who will check on the fitness of Graziano Pelle (knee) and Maarten Stekelenburg (ankle) ahead of today's game.

"But, if we don't get wins in the next couple of weeks, then we're close to the rest of the teams who are struggling against relegation.

"I think to win the Premier League title, you don't need that number of points that normally you need - and maybe that's the same at the bottom of the league.

"Relegation (involves) more teams because we are so close to each other in the table.

"Everybody's worried, and that's in two weeks - and that's the Premier League.

"In two weeks, you can be there, in whichever position you like to be but, if you don't win and you get three in a row that you lose, then it's a different world."

Tottenham, who are fifth in the table, are themselves on a poor run, having won only one of their last five Premier League matches.

And, following their loss to Newcastle United, Erik Lamela wants his team-mates to produce an immediate response.

"We are disappointed with the last game but we are confident that we can change our luck against Southampton," the winger told the club's official website.

"We know it is a difficult game, we know them and we are aware that they are a very good team, but we are a good team as well so hopefully we can... take the points."

Tottenham could be without Clinton N'Jie (knee), Moussa Dembele and Ryan Mason (both feet).



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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 19, 2015, with the headline 'Koeman fears Saints will face relegation battle'. Print Edition | Subscribe