Ronald Koeman fears Southampton will become embroiled in a relegation battle if they cannot swiftly arrest their declining form.
Southampton host Tottenham on Saturday, managed by Koeman’s predecessor Mauricio Pochettino, in the Premier League following a run of five fixtures without victory that has also included a 6-1 home defeat by Liverpool and a 3-1 reverse at Manchester City.
Their only point during that time came in a disappointing 1-1 home draw with Aston Villa, who are bottom of the table by six points, and has left them eight points off both the relegation zone and the Premier League’s top four.
After Spurs, Southampton host Arsenal before visits to West Ham and Norwich in a difficult run which could prolong their struggles, and asked if they were at risk of joining those striving only for survival, Koeman said: “Yes, I think so.
“That’s all about what happens in the next coming weeks. I’m always positive, I think we will get good results in the next couple of weeks, but if we don’t get wins in the next couple of weeks then we’re close to the rest of the teams who maybe are now struggling against relegation.
“I think to win the title, to win the Premier League [this season], you don’t need that number of points what normally you need, and maybe that’s the same in the bottom of the league, relegation is more teams because we are so close to each other in the table.
“If you get a good run … two weeks ago we had a 1-1 with Aston Villa. It’s always ‘if,’ but with two points more, we could have gone fifth in the table and everybody would have been laughing. Everybody’s worried, and that’s in two weeks, and that’s the Premier League.
“In two weeks you can be there, in which position you like to be, but if you don’t win and you get three in a row that you lose, then it’s a different world.”
The presence of Chelsea, Newcastle and Swansea below Southampton in the Premier League table means that Koeman’s team is not alone in underperforming, but, even amid the progress demonstrated by improving teams like Bournemouth and Sunderland, the manager believes his team should prove too good for the bottom three.
“I think [we are too good for relegation], yes, because we have competition in our squad, we are not the team in that position, but if you stay close, that’s all about confidence, about belief, spirit in the team, and you see Chelsea…
“It’s difficult to come out of that situation. Everybody was expecting six, seven weeks ago, ‘Chelsea will come up,’ and everybody was sure about that, but now they are struggling, and that means that’s difficult to change that situation because everybody can improve, and everybody is strong, and every game is a difficult one, and it’s no 4-0, it’s no 5-1, it’s all 1-0, 1-1, 2-1, and that’s difficult. That can happen also for Southampton.
“If we win three points from Tottenham [it can transform our season].”
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