Everton --- Southampton: Match Report

01 January 2017 11:34

Everton boss Ronald Koeman issues warning to Southampton

Ronald Koeman has warned former club Southampton that Everton will be a different proposition when the two sides clash on Monday.

Koeman quit Southampton to take charge at Goodison Park in the summer and Everton marked his first return to St Mary's with a poor display in a 1-0 defeat at the end of November.

Southampton never looked back after scoring the only goal inside the first minute through Charlie Austin, but Koeman insisted he is not gunning for revenge.

"It's not about revenge," said the Dutchman, who steered the Saints to seventh and sixth during his time there.

"Of course it's always special. I was manager at Southampton for two seasons in a row.

"But we (Everton) had a really poor game there. Maybe it was one of the worst of the season, the whole team performance.

"You know if you go behind in just one minute it's always difficult because they play with a lot of organisation.

"But this game will be totally different."

Everton's impressive start to the league campaign under Koeman - four wins and a draw - faltered towards the end of September.

The Toffees mustered only one win from their next 10 matches before arresting their slide with victory over Arsenal at Goodison in early December.

Koeman feels the turning point for his players came in the previous game, which ended in a 3-2 defeat at Watford.

"I think we had a difficult time," he said. "The start of the season was really positive, then we had a difficult run.

"But the team is different. After the big disappointment when we lost at Watford, the attitude of the team is different.

"We play with more aggression and that started against Arsenal. That's the way we'd like to continue."

Ross Barkley's late header salvaged a 2-2 draw at Hull on Friday when both sides carved out a host of chances.

"We know we need to improve our ball possession and this is what I was really pleased about (at Hull)," Koeman added.

"Our ball possession was good, we created a lot of good opportunities to score and that's how I like to play."

Goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenberg remains doubtful due to the dead leg that has kept him out of the last two matches.

Joel Robles will continue in Stekelenberg's absence, while midfielder James McCarthy (hamstring) and full-back Bryan Oviedo are still out.

Claude Puel has called on Southampton to keep calm and produce a season-defining result at Goodison Park.

Saints boss Puel admitted Saturday's 2-1 home loss to West Brom has created a "difficult moment" for the south coast club, who have suffered more league losses than draws or wins.

Southampton's muddled attacking blueprint led directly to the West Brom defeat, their seventh in the league already this term.

"It's important to keep calm, maintain good spirit and produce a good reaction for the next game," said Puel.

"We must have strong character, and the work is what's important for us to look after for the next game.

"It's a difficult moment, but I have confidence in all my players.

"We need to show a good reaction, produce a good performance and hopefully, of course, a result."

Jose Fonte should slot in at centre-back to offset the loss of Virgil van Dijk to suspension.

Nathan Redmond will return after suspension, while Ryan Bertrand should come back into the squad after being rested for the West Brom clash.

Source: PA