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Published: 02:06 | 21/12/15

Ronald Koeman slams ‘too nice’ Southampton players

Ronald Koeman slammed his players for an “unacceptable” performance against Tottenham, accusing his players of lacking “a killing mentality”.

The Saints went down to a 2-0 Premier League defeat to Mauricio Pochettino’s side at St Mary’s, with Harry Kane and Dele Alli netting as the North Londoners leapfrogged Manchester United to move into the top four of the Premier League.

Koeman feels his players need to become harder and nastier if they are to arrest a recent run of four defeats in their last five Premier League matches.

“If you look back at the first goal from Kane, it is incredible how defensively naive we were in that situation,” he told Sky Sports.

“There were three defenders against one attacker, yet the one attacker still gets the chance to get one-on-one with the goalkeeper.”

Southampton shaded possession in the opening 30 minutes, without really troubling Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, before Kane and Alli netted just before the interval.

“They have more of a killing mentality, both defensive and attacking-wise,” Koeman continued.

“They are more clinical, they have more quality, and you cannot win if you make those kinds of mistakes.”

Pochettino was delighted with his side’s performance in what he viewed as tough challenge.

“I am very happy because it was a very difficult game,” the Tottenham manager told BBC Sport. “Southampton are a very good team, and the first 20 minutes were difficult, but after that we settled and managed the game and deserved our victory.

“I am pleased with the victory after a difficult week and after our defeat by Newcastle.

“The table is not the important thing at the moment,” added Pochettino, with his troops having climbed into the Champions League spots. “We need to keep working hard because the Premier League is very tough.”

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