Koeman Hails Indispensable Shane Long
Sunday, 14th Feb 2016 21:15
Ronald Koeman has paid tribute to Saints striker Shane Long after the Irish striker marked another hard working game by scoring the winning goal at Swansea City.
Ronald Koeman has praised Shane Long after his match winning performance at Swansea City.
Shane Long is one of those players who is sometimes under appreciated by supporters, when he arrived there were those who felt his record did not justify his £12 million fee.
Those fans were a little short sighted, Long's fee was about right when comparing his goal scoring record with other players who have been transferred for around the same amount, but Long brings a lot more to the party and last season his hard work was vital in creating chances for others, the home win against Aston Villa is best known for the hat trick by Sadio Mane, but it was Long who scored two goals on the day and was involved in the build up to the others who was truly the man of the match that day.
This season started with Long again struggling to get much game time despite the fact he scored not only against Vitesse but the first Premier League game against Newcastle, but he has hung on in there and with the injury to Pelle truly made himself hard to drop.
The goal at Swansea put him joint top scorer with Pelle with 6 Premier League goals apiece and 3 in other competitions, both players now having 9 in total.
Now with Pelle struggling tp find his form after injury and Sadio Mane way out of sorts, Ronald Koeman has spoken of Shane Long and how he has stepped up to the plate and helped kick start Saints season just as it looked dead and buried.
“I think he deserves to start because he’s working hard,”
“He’s complaining defenders. He’s always on the move. He’s always running. He’s very dangerous."
“That’s the reason every time I start with Shane. Okay, with the signing of Charlie we have big competition. Today, I had Charlie, I had Tadic, Mane on the bench."
“But that’s what we really like to have because a strong squad makes progress and makes competition. Even if the decisions that I have to make are very difficult.”
“Every player needs to give the best of himself. For that he needs competition. That’s normal and we like to have this competition because this makes the team really strong.”
"We play a little bit different at the moment,” Koeman explained.
“We don’t play with three in front. We play with two strikers.
“That’s one why he (Mane) did not start today and in the last few weeks he was a little bit struggling.
“A little bit struggling in his performances. He was working hard, but really what he can do and what he can show for the team was not like that.”
Certainly Ronald Koeman must be very happy at the moment with his attacking options, the defence is now looking good, but he knows that Saints need to score more if they are to mount a real challenge for a top six finish and indeed higher.
But he has a plethora of attacking options who all offer something different and that could count in Saints favour
Photo: Action Images
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