Koeman rues Saints’ poor away form

Ronald Koeman believes a top-six finish is still a possibility for the The Saints, but fears that his team's performances away from home may prove too costly.

Southampton face a demoralised Aston Villa on Saturday, the ideal opportunity for the team to begin the winning run they would need to stake a claim for European football next season. Koeman, however, feels that the fixture could be trickier than it looks.

"In my opinion it is possible, it is achievable," Koeman said when asked about the possibility of a top-six finish. "But then you can't make mistakes like we did in several games or in most of them away from home.

"We lost too many points and we hadn't enough wins away from home and that makes it more difficult," he told Sky Sports.

Koeman's side only managed five wins away from St Mary's this Premiership season, a statistic that is not ideal for a team with European ambitions. Southampton are currently lying in eighth position, five points behind West Ham, the team currently occypying the sought after sixth spot. 

"But we still have good games to play and of course this Saturday is difficult for several reasons," Koeman said. "They [Aston Villa] are already relegated, there will be a different atmosphere in the stadium but more than ever we need to focus on ourselves and to take the motivation out of ourselves to play at a good level and to win the game.

"It's very difficult because if you don't win nobody is happy, and if you win maybe for most of the people it's normal. It's always the most difficult to play.

"They play home, they need to win the support of the fans back and they will start the game seriously."

When the popular topic of penalties awarded for defenders interfering with opposition players at corners came up, the Barcelona legend asked for consitency from match officials.

"I think if you start to give penalties for that then it stops," Koeman said.

"The way is not to give one time a penalty and in the same game no penalty, because that's no consistency. What you need and what everybody needs [is consistency].

"Everybody knows if you take somebody in his shirt or like a rugby player, you take your man in the box, it's a penalty. If everybody knows then it stops.

"If one day it's a penalty and even in the same game next time it's not, that doesn't help or make it clear for everybody."