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31 December 2015


Nickname: Saints
Manager: Ronald Koeman  
2014-15: 7th
Ground: St Mary's Stadium 

Southampton manager Ronald Koeman believes Norwich City's recent victory at Old Trafford fully underlines the Canaries' abilities to compete with teams such as his own.

"Winning away to Manchester United has given them the confidence to battle," the 52-year-old Dutchman explained in his pre-match media briefing.

"I watched them against Aston Villa, and they are fighting to keep their position in the Premier League. I'm expecting a difficult match because they are strong at home, but we need to win. 

"It's a busy time but we're looking forward. Cedric Soares and Graziano Pelle are out for the weekend but I don't expect a lot of changes from the squad that we had last time.

"We always want to start a new year with three points, so we'll fight for that."

Forward Sadio Mane has proven to be an astute acquisition for Southampton since signing from Salzburg in September 2014.

The Senegalese international netted 10 times in his debut season for the Saints, helping to fire them to a 7th place finish in the Barclays Premier League. 

Mane has continued to impress this term, scoring seven times to date, including including during a 3-1 victory over champions Chelsea.

His directness with the ball tends to be a key factor in the success of Koeman's side, with the 23-year-old playing a key role in their 3-0 win at home to the Canaries earlier this season. 

Southampton went down 2-1 at West Ham United in their most recent outing, surrendering a lead as The Hammers took all three points.

An own-goal from Carl Jenkinson put the visitors in front, only for second half strikes from former Saints loanee Michail Antonio and Andy Carroll to turn the game around.
The result marked something of a comedown for The Saints in the wake of a superb 4-0 triumph against title-chasers Arsenal two days earlier.

Following the festive schedule, Koeman's side currently sit in 12th having collected 24 points from the first half of the campaign.

Goalkeepers: Kelvin Davis, Maarten Stekelenburg, Paulo Gazzaniga, Fraser Forster.

Defenders: Cedric Soares, Maya Yoshida, Florin Gardos, Jose Fonte (c), Cuco Martina, Virgil van Dijk, Ryan Bertrand, Steven Caulker, Jason McCarthy, Matt Targett, 

: Jordy Clasie, Steven Davis, Dusan Tadic, Victor Wanyama, Oriol Romeu, James Ward-Prowse, Harrison Reed, Gaston Ramirez, Lloyd Isgrove, Sam McQueen.

: Shane Long, Jay Rodriguez, Sadio Mane, Graziano Pelle, Juanmi.

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