Southampton boss Ronald Koeman has angrily blasted what he has labelled as a ‘crazy’ fixture list with the Dutchman worried it could affect his side’s unexpected European football hopes, the Daily
With Southampton currently sitting second in the table, Koeman takes his players to Aston Villa on Monday night hoping to keep pace with unbeaten league leaders Chelsea.
But the former Barcelona player believes the fixture list favours the big sides of the division as his side embark on a run of 11 games in just 42 days where they face Arsenal, Chelsea and both Manchester clubs over the busy Christmas period.
He also believes that the top clubs can afford to chop and change thanks to the depth and talent of their squads while smaller teams have to rotate at the detriment of their performances.
He said: “It is crazy. You have one day off between two games and that is crazy – 24 hours to recover is not enough.
“It is impossible. That is my problem with the schedule. If the games are on the 26th and the 29th of December, then I have no problem.
“But it is Friday-Sunday and that is crazy. One day off? Crazy. It is also difficult as I don’t have experience in having these kind of games over a short time.
“The worst situation will be for the clubs who don’t have 24 players on the same level because you will have to change and I don’t like to change.
“In some cases it can favour the bigger clubs as they can change much easier than a lot of other teams in the Premier League.”
Koeman revealed that he is so desperate to get things right at the club he held a meeting with his players to ask for their advice over the situation.
Southampton had 15 players called up for international duty and while this could also hinder fitness, the manager believes it boosts confidence even higher in the camp.
And for the first time in the club’s history a starting XI of full internationals could be named if Steven Davis shakes off an injury – displaying the fantastic work done at the club in recent years.
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