Ronald Koeman frustrated by Southampton forwards' form

Graziano Pelle
The goals have dried up for Graziano Pelle after a bright start to his Southampton career

Southampton boss Ronald Koeman has conceded his front players are "struggling", after a frustrating goalless draw with West Ham.

The Hammers were down to 10 men for the final 30 minutes at St Mary's but Adrian and Jussi Jaaskelainen, his replacement in goal, held firm.

"To win games and to score goals, you need the players at the level they can bring," he told BBC Radio Solent.

"If I look to the front players, it wasn't good enough."

Southampton are fourth in the table as the fight for Champions League qualification intensifies, but have scored only one goal in their last three matches.

Forward thinking: Saints goalscorers this season (all competitions)
NameAppearancesGoals
Graziano Pelle31 12
Sadio Mane195
Shane Long27 4
Morgan Schneiderlin214
Dusan Tadic294

Graziano Pelle has 12 goals in his first season in English football, but has not scored in the Premier League since 20 December, while Sadio Mane - who scored a late winner against QPR in Southampton's previous outing - also drew a blank.

"The front players are struggling a little bit more than the start of the season but we have to accept that," added Koeman, who admitted that the injury-enforced absence of strikers Shane Long and Jay Rodriguez had left his regular strikers jaded

"We had some chances but there wasn't enough sharpness in the box, but it's understandable that players don't always play at the highest level they can bring."

Koeman said his team had not adapted to having an extra man after Adrian's sending-off for handling the ball outside his area.

"We didn't do well in the last 20 or 25 minutes - it was 11 v 10 and you have to use your brains, keep it wide and keep moving the ball and we didn't," he said.

Southampton's next match is against Liverpool on 22 February and Koeman said his players would be able to recover from an intense period, with the likely return of midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin also set to boost the team.

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