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Premier League: Ronald Koeman looking at European challenge sparked by Dusan Tadic

Ronald Koeman believes Dusan Tadic can spark Southampton into a challenge for Champions League football next season.

The Serbia midfielder has made an instant impact since his summer move from FC Twente and he set up a club-record four goals in the 8-0 thrashing of Sunderland last Saturday.

But the 'assist king' has a lot more to offer than that says Koeman, who made Tadic's signing one of his top priorities when he arrived at St Mary's over the summer.

Fantastic

"Yes, he has that talent for assists of course," said Koeman of Tadic, ahead of Saturday's home Premier League clash with Stoke.

"Then he plays in a position with a lot of freedom so maybe he can be the player with the most assists, it's possible.

"But compared to Tadic you have some other great players in other teams, so plenty of those could do that too.

"Of course, if you have one player who makes the most assists then it's a big possibility that you are towards the top of the table.

"Dusan has settled in very well, he's a fantastic player and his best quality is his ability to make assists.

"He's a clever player who takes up great positions. To win 8-0 isn't normal, but neither is to make four assists in one game. The qualities of Dusan are fantastic."

Everything is possible

Koeman is confident his side can challenge for a place in Europe next season and believes Southampton will prove to be the season's 'surprise package' even if he doesn't want to get too carried away.

"Dreaming is not bad, because always you dream about being the best," said the former Feyenoord boss.

"We are in a good way now, but we know other teams are strong and can bring a good battle to finish in the top six. But okay, we will see: game by game, I think that's the best way to reach the highest position in the table.

"Some teams have a tough programme with Champions League, but eight games is certainly not a conclusion.

"It looks like Chelsea and Man City are the strongest, but we'll see. Maybe we can (challenge for the top four) because if you believe everything is possible.

"We can be up there, but the difference is that top teams have 24, 25 players already prepared to play Premier League, and teams like Southampton don't have that.

"We have some young players who maybe will get the chance, they are talented players, but they don't have the experience. The biggest teams, they have so much more players on that level and that's the difference - but we'll see."


Headlines for Southampton this week

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  • Premier League: Ronald Koeman looking at European challenge sparked by Dusan Tadic


  • Ronald Koeman believes Dusan Tadic can spark Southampton into a challenge for Champions League football next season.

  • Premier League: Southampton v Stoke team news


  • Ronald Koeman can select the same squad that thumped Sunderland 8-0, while Stoke are without Glenn Whelan at St Mary's.

  • Premier League: Southampton manager Ronald Koeman backs full-backs for honours


  • Southampton manager Ronald Koeman is backing the international claims of his two full-backs, Nathaniel Clyne and Ryan Bertrand.

  • PL pre-match stats: Chelsea most settled


  • We have stats ahead of every Premier League game this weekend, including details of West Ham's miserly defence and Chelsea's settled line-up.

  • PL Predictions: Chelsea & Arsenal backed


  • Mark Holmes faces Blitz Kids guitarist and Manchester United fan Jono Yates in this week's prediction challenge, with both men backing Chelsea.

  • Regional Rumours in the Press: Defoe could return


  • Toronto striker Jermain Defoe has refused to rule out a return to England in January, while Harry Kane has been likened to Cristiano Ronaldo.

  • Merson tips top three for weekend wins


  • Paul Merson has predicted wins for Man City, Liverpool, Southampton, Swansea, Everton, Chelsea and QPR in the Premier League this weekend.

  • Rumours in the Press: Game over for Super Mario


  • Mario Balotelli could be sold by Liverpool, while Arjen Robben, Paul Pogba and Gonzalo Higuain have ruled out moves to the Premier League.

  • Gido Vader: No surprise at Ronald Koeman's Southampton success


  • Ronald Koeman’s successful start to life as Southampton manager has come as no surprise to Feyenoord’s international relations manager Gido Vader.

  • Ronald Koeman reveals how Southampton have even exceeded his expectations


  • Ronald Koeman admits Southampton’s flying start to the season has even left him surprised.

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