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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.

The Dutchman was installed as the new manager at St Mary’s in the summer, inheriting a squad which has been depleted by some big name departures.

England trio Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert and Luke Shaw all left the south coast, forcing Koeman to recruit the likes of Graziano Pelle and Dusan Tadic in a bid to strengthen Saints.

Concerns remained about how the new-look side would cope when the season started, but they were soon dismissed following a flurry of early wins.

Southampton now sit in third place in the Premier League following Saturday's 8-0 hammering of Sunderland and Koeman has revealed how the team has exceeded his hopes.

He told Sky Sports: “I was confident in the club, because after talking to the board I knew of course that Southampton had a good academy, good young players and I knew that some key players left the club, but we had opportunities to sign new players.

“But of course, the expectation was not so high in the beginning. The expectation now is much more. I didn’t expect this good start of the season of course. I have to be realistic.”

Regular starters such as Morgan Schneiderlin, Nathaniel Clyne and Jose Fonte remained at the club after helping secure a lofty finish in the last campaign.

Koeman believes the old guard have helped the team to aim high this season following a creditable defeat at Liverpool in the opening fixture.

“The players that the squad has have great ambition, good last season and eighth in the table was fantastic," he added.

“But the club is like a family and that brings confidence. The first game against Liverpool away was important to show the qualities and after that everyone said: ‘look they can play good football.’

“It was an amazing second-half and we deserved a result rather than the 2-1 we lost.”

Headlines for Southampton this week

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  • Regional Rumours in the Press: Reid Hammer blow

  • Arsenal & Liverpool have suffered a blow in the race for Winston Reid, Manolo Gabbiadini may join Spurs & Nottingham Forest want Jack Grealish.

  • Rumours in the Press: Arsenal target £10m Moore

  • Arsenal and Man City are chasing Leicester's £10m defender Liam Moore, Man United could sign Fredy Guarin, and Schalke want Fernando Torres.

  • 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.

  • Top Men: Saints trio get the nod

  • Three of Southampton's stars make it in our latest Team of the Week, while Man City, Hull and Everton all contribute a couple of elite performers.

  • Aguero puts Balotelli woes into focus

  • Sergio Aguero's scoring record, Mario Balotelli's continuing bad form and Man Utd's leaky defence feature in our review of the weekend stats.

  • Premier League: Dusan Tadic reflects on dream start at Southampton

  • Dusan Tadic says Southampton's start to the season has him 'dreaming', with top-four thoughts creeping into his head.

  • Premier League: Southampton thump sorry Sunderland 8-0 at St Mary's

  • Southampton produced one of the performances of the season with a stunning 8-0 thumping of sorry Sunderland at St Mary's.

  • Premier League: Southampton boss Ronald Koeman in shock over 8-0 win over Sunderland

  • Southampton boss Ronald Koeman admitted he was in 'shock' after his side's stunning 8-0 win over Sunderland.

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