Southampton boss Ronald Koeman says he is happy to wait until next season before bringing Jay Rodriguez back to the first team after injury.
ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee
in April last year, and
suffered a setback in his recovery
“He’s a very good player but we don’t put pressure on him,” said Koeman.
“He has to be fully fit. If that’s at the end of the season then I’m pleased, but if not then next season.”
Rodriguez scored 17 goals for the Saints last season and earned an England call-up before suffering the injury in a 4-1 defeat by Manchester City.
“For me the fitness of the player is more important than the position in the table,” added Koeman, speaking ahead of Saturday’s match against QPR.
Here’s the best of the rest from Koeman’s news conference:
On the close of the January transfer window
brought Filip Djuricic in on loan
until the end of the season and secured a permanent deal for full-back Ryan Bertrand.
“I’m very pleased,” Koeman said. “We wanted one more player to come in and we have that with Djuricic and we kept everyone else at the club. There were a lot of rumours, but nobody was close to going – there wasn’t a serious offer for any of these players.”
On returns of Wanyama and Schneiderlin
“They’ve trained all week,” said Koeman of the injured midfield duo. “We’ll have to wait for the reaction to their last session but they should be back this weekend.”
On inheriting an ‘easy’ job
Koeman’s predecessor Mauricio Pochettino left at the end of last season to take over at Tottenham and reportedly told Spanish radio station RAC1 that Koeman inherited a team “on the up”.
“I’m happy in Southampton so thank you Mauricio, I have an easy job. I came here for a holiday,” he joked. “But seriously – we had to make a lot of changes in the team. The way the club is doing, the structure and organisation makes it easier for the manager.”
On Southampton’s ambitions for the season
“We will try to do the maximum,” added Koeman. “The most important thing is to believe in your qualities and that we can make this season very special.
“If we keep everyone fit – and that’s key for us – then we can fight for the top positions in the table.”
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