Ronald Koeman says he dreams of leading out Southampton at Wembley for an FA Cup Final, but is expecting a tough first hurdle against Ipswich Town on Sunday at St Mary’s.
Koeman will get his first taste of one of the most famous domestic competitions in football on Sunday, and it’s an occasion the Saints manager is looking forward to, having watched the FA Cup Final on numerous occasions back in Holland.
But, having seen Ipswich Town’s impressive 3-0 win against Charlton Athletic in midweek to keep Mick McCarthy’s side in the automatic promotion places in the Championship, he says Saints will need to take the game very seriously.
“We saw a lot about the FA Cup Final in Holland, always a special day watching on the television,” Koeman told Southampton's official YouTube channel. “Always at Wembley, it’s a dream to be one day in that final, but we know we have to fight for that and that will start this Sunday.
“We would like to do well in the FA Cup, we tried to do that in the Capital One Cup as well. It’s not one game more important than the other, we go game by game and we would like to continue in the FA Cup – that’s our target.
“Every opponent we take very seriously. I watched the last game of Ipswich against Charlton Athletic and I have to prepare for the players for this Sunday, there is no difference to this game than to Arsenal or Chelsea.”
Having reached the quarter-finals of the Capital One Cup, only to suffer a disappointing defeat to League 1 side Sheffield United, Koeman says the incentive is there to try and go further in the FA Cup.
He also revealed, just as he did in the Capital One Cup, he would look to make as few changes as possible with the team looking to build on the four game unbeaten run they have put together heading into this fixture.
“If you have to choose between the FA Cup and the League Cup, maybe you go FA Cup,” he added. “But we took the League Cup very seriously, of course I would prefer to play in the FA Cup final but we have to fight for that.
“It will be tough against Ipswich, they are a good team, a strong opponent and one of the leaders in the Championship. We have to prepare for that.
“I don’t change a lot but of course we have to look to the players and the freshness of the players. Maybe we will make one or two changes, but we are in a good way.
“We have confidence and that’s the best way to be successful. I don’t like to change too much.”
On the injury front, Koeman confirmed right-back Nathaniel Clyne would miss out again, while he will wait until later on Friday for news on Sadio Mané.
Koeman added: “Clyney will not be ready for this weekend, normally he will be fit for next weekend and that’s good news.
“Sadio had a visit to make a scan in the hospital, later we will know exactly what happened and maybe to say how long he will be out for.”