No goals in four games, but Koeman explains why Pelle is crucial for Southampton

Southampton manager Ronald Koeman has backed under pressure striker Graziano Pelle

Southampton manager Ronald Koeman has explained to the Daily Echo the precise reason Graziano Pelle is so important for the club.

Pelle has failed to score in his last four games for the club, but Koeman has suggested that he won’t be dropping the centre forward for the game away at West Brom this weekend.

“He’s (Pelle) important in our ball possession, because he’s always the target man and people around him have their movements,” said the boss.

“He’s not a typical number nine who scores goals and nothing else – he’s an important player for our ball possession.”

Southampton are at their very best when they control possession through midfield and gradually wear down opponents over the course of 90 minutes.

However, it’s important for them to have a target man sort of player for when they need to switch things up.

Pelle was superb over the first half of the season and he’s been under pressure lately because of injuries to other attacking players.

However, with Shane Long back fit and in the squad, he may need a goal or two over the next couple of weeks to reaffirm his status as the club’s number one striker.

If he’s struggling to find the back of the net, he needs to find ways to keep himself selected and Koeman’s comments suggest that he’s done that.

However, with the Saints chasing the possibility of Champions League football next season, Koeman night become a little twitchy in upcoming fixtures.

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