Ronald Koeman explains why Southampton's Sadio Mane didn't start against Stoke

Southampton were beaten 1-0 by Stoke City at St. Mary's yesterday.

Southampton boss Ronald Koeman has informed the Southern Daily Echo that he did not start Sadio Mane against Stoke City, because the Senegal international returned from the international break carrying an injury.

Mane only came on as a late substitute, as Southampton slipped to a 1-0 defeat to Stoke, and there was no doubt the Saints missed his power and pace.

Southampton didn’t possess their usual attacking quality, but Koeman insists that there was no way he could have risked Mane from the start.

“It’s always the question after international duty to make decisions about that,” Koeman said.

“Sadio came back late Thursday in the morning, didn’t have the training session with the team, had an ankle problem, and that was the reason I didn’t start with Sadio.

“Normally without any problem, without any problem in freshness, he starts the game.”

Stoke won the match against Southampton through a goal from Bojan, and Koeman’s side couldn’t threaten as they normally do.

The South Coast club have been in impressive form of late, but Mane’s importance to the team was highlighted yesterday.

Thankfully it seems that Mane will be fit to start Southampton’s next match against Manchester City at the weekend.

Koeman’s team are sure to be determined to get back on track at the Etihad Stadium, as they look to protect their place in the top half of the Premier League table.

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch