Ronald Koeman backs Southampton to challenge Man Utd and Liverpool for European spot

Koeman, who guided Saints to their highest Premier League position last season, blames his side’s away form, with just five wins and 14 goals – the third worst record in the league.

He added: “There is progress in the team and with individuals but I do believe we lost some big opportunities in several games – mostly away from home, that is the answer to why there is a gap between the teams above us.

“We had a fantastic 45 minutes against West Ham who were only 1-0 up and we lost, and that is the team that has five points more than we have.

“That is the type of opportunities we missed and that’s when we were punished.”

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