2015 will begin with Southampton (33 points) occupying the Premier League’s fourth and final Champions League place after a 1-1 draw with league-leaders Chelsea on Sunday, prompting Saints manager Ronald Koeman to declare his side had “passed the test” against their toughest opposition yet.
[ FULL RECAP: Saints, Blues share points in pulsating 1-1 draw ]
“We learned [from] the other games this season against the big [teams],” Koeman said during his post-game interviews (above video). It’s not easy because they have a fantastic team, very strong in all aspects of football. But then you have to show your confidence, you need good organization in the team, an unbelievable spirit and you need some luck. I think all that together makes that point today well-deserved.”
Southampton have responded to four-straight league defeats by taking seven points from their last three games in nine days’ time, which is surely the biggest “test” they’ve encountered thus far and “passed” with flying colors.