Saints chief looks beyond summer of pain
Southampton chairman Ralph Krueger has admitted that his club have endured a "summer of pain" after selling five key players, but he believes they will be stronger for it.
As well as manager Mauricio Pochettino, who left for Tottenham Hotspur, Southampton fans have also seen Rickie Lambert, Luke Shaw, Adam Lallana, Calum Chambers and Dejan Lovren depart from St Mary's.
The transfers, though lucrative, have ripped the heart out of the side that secured an impressive eighth-place finish in the Premier League last season, but Krueger has asked supporters to be patient.
"This is a summer of pain," he told Britain's Press Association.
"It is a summer of pain on many, many different levels. It has been six months of pain because so much change has gone on and people always have fear in change.
"That's why we have to have patience with the team now because it is not going to come overnight.
"But everything we're doing is driven by the fact that we want to create a really honest, healthy structure and we want to be as well-run as anybody.
"If we do that here, then the people of Southampton and the fans of the Saints will see an excellent of level Premier League football for a long time."
Krueger believes it would have been an "insane risk" to hold onto players against their will and he believes that the close-season exodus will actually help new coach Ronald Koeman to prepare for the forthcoming campaign.
"There was a situation when there was so much change with the manager leaving and you theoretically ended up with a dressing room with half of your starters not really committed to being there," he said.
"That is an insane risk for any club and especially a club which was already quite thin last year.
"Of actual centrepieces of the club, a few have gone. Not all five were centrepieces or irreplaceable, but you know there were a couple.
"For me, if in the end a few players are disgruntled or maybe not sure about it, you can swallow that up. You can handle that, but you can't have half the team. You can't have a brand new manager (inheriting that situation)."
He added: "Whether that happened out of the past or whether it happened because of the success of the Saints last year or whether it happened because players were suddenly in the national team, I don't know and it doesn't really matter.
"But something happened and I don't need to do research on it. The fact was it was there and we needed to deal with it professionally, be in control of every deal.
"In the end, that's something we couldn't do to Ronald, to have a dressing room like that."
Southampton open their league campaign away to Liverpool on August 17.
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