Long feels Saints are well equipped to deal with difficult challenge

Southampton forward Shane Long is confident the club can deal with the difficulties created by the Europa League.

Southampton forward Shane Long told the Daily Echo that he feels the club are well equipped to deal with the challenge of Europa League football this season.

The Saints are competing for a place in the group stage of the competition, which traditionally means matches on Thursdays and Sundays for large parts of the season.

That’s a scenario, which could place manager Ronald Koeman under pressure in terms of team selection and which competition he prioritises, but Long feels Southampton are well equipped to cope.

“It’s a challenging competition, playing Thursdays and Sundays. It’s challenging for your league [form], but we’ve got a lot of players in now,” he told the Daily Echo.

“You can see with the strength on the bench, we can rotate, and the gaffer has that luxury now, and I think we all want to put a good season behind us and that starts with Europe as well.”

The Premier League must be the priority

The Europa League is an important competition for Southampton because of financial reasons and for the fact that it provides the club with more pulling power in terms of attracting players.

However, the Premier League and finding consistency in the competition is what matters this season.

The imminent new TV rights deal, which kicks in from next season onwards means it’s more important than ever before for the club to remain in the top flight and be competitive in the division.

The league is the bread and butter for the Saints and in terms of team selection, it will always take priority.

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