Koeman dreaming of Europe

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The Dutchman defied pre-season predictions that the Saints would struggle after the departures of a host of key players by leading his team to a seventh-place Premier League finish in his first season in charge.

That means Southampton can join Tottenham, Liverpool and West Ham in the Europa League next season if Arsenal successfully defend their FA Cup crown against Aston Villa.

The Premier League???s final Europa League spot goes to the winner of the FA Cup and as Arsenal are already competing in the Champions League, a victory for them would result in the place being allocated to the next-highest finishing team in the league.

Koeman is desperate to see Southampton grace the European stage next season and has no concerns about the effects of regular Thursday-night football during the season.

???I hope Arsenal will win the FA Cup next week because we may get a chance to play Europa League football next season,??? Koeman told Sky Sports.

???It is important for the club, it is important for the players and it is a good experience for all the people in the club. It will be a nice challenge we hope but we have to wait.

???I am not a person that always thinks negatively. I am thinking positively about it because it will be good for the club. It would be good to put Southampton the club in Europe.

???I???m very happy. We had a difficult start in the pre-season and we did a great job ??? both the players and the staff. Overall I am very proud of what we did this season.???

Southampton lost many key players last summer as Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren, Rickie Lambert, Luke Shaw and Calum Chambers all left the club.

History could be set to repeat itself with uncertainty regarding the futures of Morgan Schneiderlin, Nathaniel Clyne and Toby Alderweireld but Koeman is not concerned about the speculation.

The Saints boss said: ???That is normal. We are not the biggest club in the Premier League.

???We have some good players and there is always interest in those players but we haven???t had a serious bid from any club so we???ll see what happens.???