18 October 2014 19:44
Southampton manager Ronald Koeman claimed to have been left “in shock” after his side romped to an 8-0 Premier League win over Sunderland.
The home team took a 12th-minute lead in bizarre circumstances as Sunderland defender Santiago Vergini smashed an unstoppable volley into his own net.
In-form striker Graziano Pelle scored the first of an eventual brace six minutes later, at which stage Koeman accepted the scoreline flattered his players.
But, following a 37th-minute strike from midfielder Jack Cork to give Southampton further breathing space, Koeman was left purring by a clinical and destructive second-half performance
“I’m very pleased,” he said. “I’m still a little bit in shock because 8-0 is not a normal result.
“I was surprised, after 20 minutes about the score – 2-0 up and we didn’t start the game well. Sunderland were the dominant team and we had problems.
“We were lucky with the first goal, an own goal, and that gave us maybe a little more confidence in the team and we woke up after that.
“I’m very proud about the second half. We had 17 players out in the international break and if you show that ambition until the last second of the game it is great.
“It was the best I’ve ever seen of the team and that was important. We played great football, we scored great goals – it was a great afternoon.”
Koeman offered sincere sympathy to opposite number Gus Poyet about the eventual result, made possible as Liam Bridcutt joined Vergini in putting through his own goal and Dusan Tadic, Victor Wanyama and Sadio Mane got in on the act after Pelle’s second.
“I know Poyet very well,” he said. “In Spain we played a lot of times against each other – he was a player of Zaragoza, I was a player of Barcelona.
“I said ‘unlucky, disappointing, you did not deserve this score today’ because of what I said before. They played well in the beginning of the game.
“I know the game is 90 minutes but my feeling was to the other manager because losing 8-0 is a big result against your team.”