The Everton manager faces his former club on Sunday for the first time since moving to Goodison Park on a £6m-per-year deal in June. Koeman guided Southampton to sixth- and seventh-placed finishes in his two Premier League seasons in charge but, having made overtures about extending a contract that had 12 months remaining, angered the club by accepting Everton’s offer of a bigger salary and transfer budget. Farhad Moshiri, the major shareholder at Goodison Park, also met Southampton’s demands for £5m compensation for their manager and his elder brother, Erwin Koeman – his assistant – and the coach Jan Kluitenberg.
Koeman said it felt nice to be heading back to Southampton: “I and the rest of the technical staff had a great time over there. The club was very successful over the last two seasons, I was part of that and I am proud about my period in Southampton.
“I cannot change opinions or the feelings of the Southampton fans. I hope they will respect me, after my career I will look back on a great time over there, but of course I understand there will be different opinions and reactions and I am not afraid of that. I made the choice to move and I am really happy at what I am doing at Everton. It is a big club with a big history.
“What happened in the past is in the past. I have a good feeling about what happened in the last two years with Southampton but they have a new manager now. That’s football. Managers change, players change and now I am looking forward. That is the best thing you can do.”
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