Koeman hails ‘positive’ display

Southampton boss Ronald Koeman was pleased to see his much-changed side claim a 2-1 victory over Aston Villa to march on in the Capital One Cup.

Second-half goals from Maya Yoshida and Graziano Pelle secured the win at St Mary's, although Scott Sinclair pulled one back for the Villans just before the final whistle.

Koeman made seven changes to the team that drew 1-1 with Liverpool on Sunday, and he was impressed with the performance of those players he called upon in the fourth-round cup-tie.

The Dutchman was also delighted to reach the quarter-finals of the League Cup as the club are now two steps away from appearing in their first final in five years, having won the Johnstone's Paint Trophy in 2010.

"You know if you make so many changes maybe they need a little bit more time in the game to feel together," Koeman told the club's official YouTube channel.

"It was a difficult start in the game. The first half was not good because it was maybe slow in our ball possession from the back.

"We were more aggressive in the second half, with better pressing in midfield and that makes the difference between the first and the second.

"One of the reasons to make the squad stronger than it was last year was to give them opportunities if it is possible, and the total performance was positive.

"Each player who started has enough level to play for Southampton and that's the way how we like to continue. We have more competition in our squad and sometimes you have to give players opportunities."

He added: "The most important is to reach the quarter-finals. We know it's difficult but one of the ambitions of the club is winning a title.

"It will be great if we can bring our fans to Wembley. We know it's difficult, but we will fight for it."