BBC pundit praises Southampton, backs them for Europa League qualification

Former Sunderland player Kevin Kilbane has talked up Southampton’s Europa league chances.

BBC pundit Kevin Kilbane has said that Southampton possess a lot of quality in their side and has backed them to win a Europa League spot for next season, responding on a Facebook Q&A session.

The Saints endured a summer of changes as a number of players departed St Mary’s stadium, and boss Ronald Koeman was tasked to pick up the pieces and add to a depleted squad.

Many observers tipped the Saints to struggle, but on the contrary they have defied all belief to challenge for long periods for a top four spot among the Premier League’s so-called big boys.

Since the turn of the year, results have dropped off slightly though they still remain in fifth spot, and Kilbane believes they will almost certainly be assured of Europa League football next season.

"It was a big win yesterday, it looked as though after the Everton game the wheels might have come off for them but they bounced back emphatically on Saturday,” Kilbane explained.

“At the start of the season you would never have envisaged it because of the position they were in but they have got a lot of quality within the side. They are strong and they don't concede many goals.”

"If Arsenal and Liverpool get to the FA Cup final then seventh place will be a Europa League place so that could be the best way for Southampton to qualify for Europe but if they get in the top six it would be a wonderful achievement."

Will Southampton finish in the top six?

Despite Liverpool’s recent setback in their top-four hopes, they still remain on an upward curve and form would suggest they are most likely to finish fifth come the end of the season.

Sixth place may end up as a straight race between Tottenham Hotspur and Southampton, and the upcoming game at St. Mary’s between the two could go some way to deciding that.

Both teams play four of their remaining six games away from home, with the Saints facing a final day trip to the Etihad stadium in a match they will hope is nothing more than a dead rubber.

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch