Koeman: ‘A fantastic feeling’ to be at Saints

By SFC Media time Mon 16 Jun Club

Ronald Koeman has expressed his delight at becoming the new manager of Southampton Football Club.

The 51 year-old Dutchman put pen-to-paper on a three year contract at St Mary’s on Monday and revealed that he didn’t need much persuading to succeed Mauricio Pochettino as Southampton’s first-team manager.

Koeman concluded negotiations with the board led by the club’s Executive Director, Les Reed, whom he highlighted as a key figure in attracting him to St Mary’s.

“It’s a fantastic feeling,” Koeman told the club's official YouTube channel upon his arrival at the club. 

“After the first day that I met Les Reed and we spoke about this possibility, I was happy and I was impressed about the philosophy of the club and I’m very happy to be the new manager of the Saints.

“The first meeting was talking about football and what was most important was the philosophy of the club. I knew a lot about Southampton because over in Holland we know that the youth academy of Southampton is very famous. 

“It’s a little bit like Holland – they give opportunities to young players and that’s important for Southampton FC, to give young players a chance in the first team.”

Having played in the top flights of both Holland and Spain, as well as in Europe, Koeman has been no stranger to the highest level of domestic football. He’s also managed all of the ‘big three’ clubs in Holland, but it’s the Barclays Premier League in England which has most appealed to him for some time.

He said: “It’s always been a great ambition because we always see a lot of games from the Premier League in Holland and it’s maybe the strongest competition in Europe with great clubs and great players, so we admire the Premier League. 

“I said one day to myself that if I get one opportunity to manage in England then I would like to do that.

“You can’t plan your career as a manager – sometimes you get possibilities and sometimes not, and this possibility to become the new manager of Southampton was an important step forward for me as a coach and I like it very much. 

“From the first moment of contact with the club, the chairman and Les Reed, there was a very good strength of open communication and I like that, which made it more easy to come to Southampton.”

Koeman will be joined by his brother Erwin as his assistant, providing a unique combination in the dugout, and one that Ronald – the junior of the two – is looking forward to.

“It’s very special,” he acknowledged. “Often we’ve spoken about the opportunity if I get the possibility to be the coach outside of Holland. We talked about it.

“Erwin has a lot of experience as a coach – he has been a second coach with [Guus] Hiddink at PSV. My approach and my brother’s is different and who else than your brother can you be confident in? I think it’s also special for the Koeman family because it’s not often that two brothers are working in the same staff at a football club.”

Alongside Erwin, will be another first team coach in Jan Kluitenberg, with whom Koeman has worked with both at Feyenoord and Benfica.

“I worked in Portugal with Jan and in Holland last season with him too,” Ronald revealed. “He’s a very good physical coach and an important part of the football side. He’s a coach who will develop himself. We all know about the character of Southampton and it will be great. We want to enjoy the fans and the crowd because they like it and we will do everything for them.”

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