West Ham vs Southampton: Ronald Koeman shows his fellow Dutchman Louis van Gaal how it’s done

 

A new Dutch manager, a blur of transfer activity, one point from the opening two matches. So far, so familiar. Yet the fortunes of Louis van Gaal and Ronald Koeman have diverged sharply since midweek. While Manchester United lost at Milton Keynes and were then held at Burnley, Koeman’s Southampton have won at Millwall and West Ham United.

In truth, they were never on a par. In Manchester Van Gaal has been spending, hugely, at Southampton they have been selling, massively. Yet it is the latter who are prospering. Unlike his compatriot Koeman has not been begging for time, insisting he would take months to impose his philosophy on a team which he has had to remodel drastically. Maybe that is part of his success, for it gives players no excuse for a slow start.

“It is difficult to have time in football, still more in the big clubs, you have to make results,” said Koeman. “I understand [Van Gaal] needs time, I need time as well, but in the meantime you have to win and develop the team. You can’t say, ‘Give me one season’. This is a difficult season for us as well, after being eighth last season it will be tough to keep that position, but if you play like we did here in the second half then maybe we can reach sixth or seventh.

“I knew that some players were leaving, I knew at that moment we had to change the team. The first day we worked on our philosophy, how we like to play.

 

“We don’t have players to play the long ball, the second ball, we have players with technical qualities who, with good ball position and good movement, try to create something for us. People like that because it is the nicest way to play football.”

READ MORE: West Ham vs Southampton match report

Koeman’s philosophy is a variant on the traditional Dutch 4-3-3. On Saturday, Morgan Schneiderlin, who seems to have given up on a move to Tottenham for the time being at least, sat at the base of a narrow midfield three who were uniformly excellent. The full-backs pushed on and the forwards used the full width of the pitch.

With Koeman still seeking a winger before the transfer window closes today, this meant Shane Long, a £12m striker who is good at working the channels but by no means a wide player, hugged the flank. A square peg in a round hole but one who did his best to fit.

That positivity was at the heart of Southampton’s approach. Koeman spoke afterwards of dreaming about the Champions League “in three years” and in the meantime aiming for a cup triumph.  At the final whistle Saints’ players threw their shirts to the crowd, evidence of what this first league win meant to players and fans. Meanwhile, West Ham’s players trudged to the dressing room where, Sam Allardyce revealed, they sat in silence while he delivered “a short sharp blast”.

Allardyce, who said he hoped new recruit Alex Song would “provide some leadership”, added: “You can’t defend the indefensible.”

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Rocky road: Dwayne Johnson and Carla Gugino play an estranged husband and wife in 'San Andreas'
filmReview: In the face of all-round devastation, even Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson appears a little puny
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Bright lights, big city: Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles by dusk
books
Sport
Harry Kane makes Paul Scholes' Premier League team of the season
footballPaul Scholes on the best players, managers and goals of the season - and the biggest disappointments
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor