Matt Le Tissier believes Southampton have to strengthen to cope with Europa League demands

St Marys Southampton

Ronald Koeman’s first season in charge of Southampton was a tremendous success, as they qualified for Europe after a seventh-placed finish.

Southampton were expected by many to be relegated this season after losing several high profile stars from Mauricio Pochettino’s time at the club. However, the player sales last summer appear to have been part of a plan to re-build the squad smartly.

Ronald Koeman took over as manager last summer and inherited a squad which appeared to be in turmoil. But he replaced the outgoings with cheaper and arguably better alternatives who have shone this season.

Arsenal’s victory over Aston Villa in the FA Cup final meant that Southampton’s seventh place finish in the Premier League was enough to secure Europa League football next season.

It could have been even better had the Saints not faded towards the end of the campaign. For much of the season, they were competing with Manchester United and Arsenal for the final two Champions League spots but a lack of strength in depth meant they could not keep up with two giants of English football.

After such a successful campaign, there is a chance that they will lose more of their best players for big money with Morgan Schneiderlin and Nathanial Clyne attracting interest from top Premier League clubs.

Schneiderlin has been targeted by Manchester United as the long-term replacement for Michael Carrick, per the Independent, whilst Clyne is attracting interest from Liverpool and United, per Sky Sports.

Club legend Matt Le Tissier believes they need to strengthen significantly if they are to compete in all competitions next season.

He told Sky Sports, “The squad will need strengthening, first and foremost. We’ve seen plenty of examples of where clubs have gone into the Europa League and perhaps their league form has suffered a little bit because of the amount of games they were playing.

“We might lose Morgan Schneiderlin or Nathaniel Clyne, possibly, but if we do we’ve proven in the past we can go out and replace properly.

“I think in Morgan’s case he’s been quoted as saying if a Champions League club came in he’d want to go that way, and you can’t blame the boy for that. But it would be nice if we could keep hold of everyone and challenge for Europe again next season."

Le Tissier thinks Jay Rodriguez will be like a new signing when he returns from his long-term injury lay-off next season but believes there are several areas of the squad that need reinforcements.

“Our top scorer from last season in Jay Rodriguez, we’ll have him as a new signing during the summer – he’ll come back ready for the start of the season so that will be a bonus.

"Then you’re perhaps looking in the centre-back region. If we lose Morgan you’re looking at another holding midfielder in there, and possibly one more centre forward if you’re going to go through a Europa League campaign as well.”

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