EPL: Southampton strike gold again with Eljero Elia signing, beat Newcastle
Southampton have a golden touch in the transfer market and they appear to have struck the jackpot again after loanee Eljero Elia scored both goals in Saturday`s 2-1 win at Newcastle United.
London: Southampton have a golden touch in the transfer market and they appear to have struck the jackpot again after loanee Eljero Elia scored both goals in Saturday`s 2-1 win at Newcastle United.
The experienced Dutch striker, signed on loan from Werder Bremen this month, drilled in a low shot after 14 minutes to put Southampton ahead and his deflected shot on the hour sealed a fifth win in six Premier League games for the Saints.
Despite losing a batch of top players in the summer, and their manager Mauricio Pochettino, Southampton have thrived under Ronald Koeman.
The signings of Italian striker Graziano Pelle, Serb Dusan Tadic and Senegal`s Sadio Mane have been revelations, taking Southampton up to third in the table.
Now Elia, whose career has stagnated since he appeared in the 2010 World Cup final, is the latest to take a liking to the south coast air.
"I knew the player and I asked myself a lot of times what has happened, because he played in the World Cup final," Koeman said of a player who had spells with Juventus and Hamburg as well as winning 27 caps for the Netherlands.
"First, the system of the team is important, how he played today is the best. Also every player needs confidence of the coach. Maybe he was lacking the rhythm of the game but his answer today was fantastic."
All eyes were on Southampton after their first win in 27 years at Manchester United last week, particularly as injuries to midfielders Morgan Schneiderlin and Victor Wanyama had raised questions about the depth of their squad.
They answered the doubters in emphatic fashion, grinding out a win that kept them in third place, behind only champions Manchester City and Chelsea.
"Pre-season, if they said to me after 22 games you would be third, maybe I would be laughing," Koeman said.
Behind his modesty, though, there is evidently a growing conviction that his side can break up the established hierachy.
"We don`t steal points, we play good football," said Koeman. "Of course, you need some luck but the spirit is unbelievable and, like you saw today, they are confident in themselves.
"They know exactly what they have to do, and even when we do not play well we keep the organisation. That is the key to being successful."