Sunderland star impressed with Saints boss Koeman

Patrick van Aanholt has admitted how impressed he has been with new Southampton head coach Ronald Koeman.

The Saints sit in the top three of the Premier League table having appointed Koeman over the summer.

The Dutchman has led the South Coast club to four wins from seven games, and has strengthened the side that lost a number of stars, as well as head coach Mauricio Pochettino, at the close of last season.

They host Sunderland on Saturday looking to move within three points of league leaders Chelsea, and Black Cats defender Patrick van Aanholt has been impressed by the work Koeman has done at St Mary’s Stadium.

Having started his professional career with Chelsea, the twice-capped full-back left Stamford Bridge for the North East this summer, having made just two appearances for the Blues. A number of loan spells away from West London built his reputation as one of the most promising young defenders in world football, and it was considered a great piece of business when Gus Poyet completed the four-year signing of van Aanholt for a fee believed to be in the region of £1.5 million.

Speaking to Chronicle Live, van Aanholt said: “They made an excellent start at Southampton – they are up there at the top and it will be a difficult game. They lost a couple of players at the start of the season but they are up there at the top and they have built a good team.

“I’m very happy for him, I know of him really well. They are trying to play 4-3-3 and like us they like to play out from the back.”

The Saints currently have the best defensive record in the top flight, but the Dutch full-back is confident that Saturday’s game will not be hard for Sunderland, with the Black Cats becoming a team that are ‘hard to beat’.

“We are hard to beat now,” the 24-year-old said.

“Every team that plays against us now knows they are going to be in a difficult game. They know they are going to be in a battle now. I heard last season that there were some games where the team were beaten easily but that was last season, I wasn’t here and we have moved on.

“We are different team, we are a tough team to play against.

“We know what we can do and we do those things very well.”

Register for CHELSEA team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch