Heading into the 2014-15 season, some were asking if Southampton would have what it takes to survive relegation.
Through 25 matches, Saints have shocked everyone while sitting fourth on the table, battling the likes of Manchester United and Arsenal for a berth in the Champions League.
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Rewind to last season when Southampton finished in eighth place, the club’s best performance in the Premier League. Then, they shockingly sold the club’s most high profile players, including Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana and Luke Shaw.
Club chairman Ralph Krueger sat down with BBC’s Tony Husband, where he discussed the summer fire sale and why Saints made such drastic changes to the side.
Philosophically you have to have your principles in place so you don’t waver or sell out. You say ‘these are our parameters if we want to build a sustainable model’. We did that in the summer and we have to stick on that path.
We are confident that there are a lot of good people out there and Southampton is a destination – if we lose someone, we have no shortage of applications. We have no fear of change – we’ve proven change is an opportunity and it’s what you make of it.”
Those principles Krueger touches on are outlined in Southampton’s manifesto, which has become nearly cult literature around St. Mary’s. One line of the battle cry reads, “We don’t just buy success, we breed it. We don’t take shortcuts. We earn it.”
To go along with a crop of new faces, Krueger also brought in Ronald Koeman to manage the side, a hiring that has paid off massively for Saints, having already being named Premier League Manager of the Month twice. Krueger claims Southampton spoke to Koeman in a four hour meeting this summer, and didn’t interview anyone else for the open managerial position.
The Dutchman has instilled his coaching philosophy in the side, keeping a solid formation while boasting the best defensive record in the Premier League, conceding only 17 times through 25 matches.
While Saints have impressed so far, there are still 13 matches to be played, none bigger than Southampton’s tilt against Liverpool this weekend. Liverpool sits four points behind Southampton in a matchup that could have major ramifications in the Champions League race.