The Saints boss blames indifferent away form earlier in the campaign for not having already secured a European spot.
And he accepts they must win their final three matches of the season to stand any chance of fulfilling the dream, starting with today’s home clash with Manchester City.
Saints then have to play high-flying Tottenham at White Hart Lane before finishing the campaign with a home game against Crystal Palace.
But having insisted he will be at St Mary’s next season, in face of speculation linking him with Everton, Koeman is already planning for better times ahead on the south coast.
“It is difficult to make the next step or come close to finishing higher in the table,” said the Dutchman.