Ronald Koeman praises Morgan Schneiderlin after Southampton win
Ronald Koeman sang the praises of Morgan Schneiderlin after the Tottenham target showed he still has Southampton's best interests at heart by helping to see off West Ham.
Schneiderlin recently claimed his six-year stay at Southampton had been destroyed in an hour -- but he needed less time than that to leave West Ham's defence in pieces at Upton Park and set up a 3-1 win for Koeman's first three points in England.
The Hammers had led through Mark Noble's deflected effort, but France midfielder Schneiderlin levelled on the stroke of half-time, curling home after his initial shot was blocked by Joey O'Brien.
It was Schneiderlin again who put Koeman's side ahead in the second half, with Graziano Pelle's maiden Premier League goal rounding off a fine away day for Southampton.
Southampton chairman Ralph Krueger and Koeman have both been steadfast that Schneiderlin will not join the list of high-profile departures from St Mary's.
After Krueger gave an interview declaring Schneiderlin would be kept at the club, even against his wishes, the player took to Twitter in late July to write: "6 years of an amazing journey £SaintsFC DESTROYED in 1 hour !!!''
But Schneiderlin has started all three league games so far, and Koeman told a news conference on Saturday evening: "I am very pleased with his attitude over the last few weeks. He accepts the situation the way it is. If he didn't accept it he wouldn't reach the level that he did today.
"I understand his situation. If a player gets an offer from a big club, I understand that, but he is happy now and he accepts the situation -- he is a fantastic player.''
Despite former Southampton boss Mauricio Pochettino being keen on taking Schneiderlin to join him at Tottenham, Koeman is almost certain the 24-year-old will remain a Southampton player when the transfer deadline closes on Monday night.
"If it is up to me it is 100 percent. 99 percent from the club that he will stay,'' he said. "It is always difficult when you have a lot of changes in the team and I have to wait until the start of September to know what players I have in the squad. But it gives us a good feeling after today.''
Schneiderlin himself is keen to be portrayed as a team player rather than a trouble-maker.
Asked about his difficult weeks in preseason, the midfielder said it was now time to focus on his game.
"There was lot of talk, a lot of things going on," he said. "Southampton made it clear they didn't want to let me go, that they refused some offers.''
He told Southampton's official YouTube channel: "I'm not here to speculate about anything.
"But like I said, for six years the fans and the club have been very good with me, and if someone says I disrespect the club by the things I said, I want to say I never disrespect the fans because I have a lot of respect. They've been nice to me.
"My job is to show on the pitch that I'm committed to Southampton and I play my best, that's the most important thing for me.''
He added: "Today we wanted to make a statement. It's never easy to come to a place like West Ham and perform as we did so we are very happy to play so well. We know we have the capacity, we know we can win games in the Premier League and can do something very good.''
For West Ham, it was a disappointing afternoon, a week after a 3-1 victory at Crystal Palace.
A penalty shoot-out defeat to Sheffield United saw them knocked out of the Capital One Cup at their first hurdle and Sam Allardyce's side were not at the races once again as they looked for back-to-back league wins.
"We weren't good enough,'' Allardyce said. "Southampton taught us a lesson, we weren't sharp enough and didn't retain the ball as well as they did, close down as well as they did and gifted them two goals. As much as they were in control and on top of the game, we've lost two very stupid goals from set pieces.''