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Everton’s Ronald Koeman ready for criticism on Southampton return

Everton manager Ronald Koeman

Ronald Koeman has said he hopes for respect from Southampton supporters when he returns to St Mary’s Stadium but is unafraid of any hostility that awaits.

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.”

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Andy Hunter, for The Guardian on Friday 25th November 2016 17.16 Europe/London

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010


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