Ronald Koeman: Southampton starting to scare big teams
Southampton manager Ronald Koeman says big teams are becoming scared of his in-form fourth-placed side.
"Maybe they thought it would be very difficult for Southampton to keep that spirit, but we are fourth in February," Koeman told BBC Radio Solent.
"They now take us seriously. They are a little bit afraid now, I think."
Koeman was also named as the manager of the month for September, after four wins from the first seven league games.
But he saw his side lose four consecutive league matches between 30 November and 13 December, before winning five of their next six league games.
|Southampton's league games in January|
|1 January: Southampton 2-0 Arsenal|
|11 January: Manchester United 0-1 Southampton|
|17 January: Newcastle 1-2 Southampton|
They remain in the Champions League qualification places and are just one point behind third-placed Manchester United.
Koeman has been forced into using youngsters such as midfielder Harrison Reed because of injuries to experienced players Morgan Schneiderlin and Victor Wanyama, while centre-half Toby Alderweireld also suffered an injury in the 1-0 win at Old Trafford.
"The most important thing at that time was the spirit that the players showed, even with a lot of injuries and some key players not involved in the team, said Koeman.
"That gave opportunities to young players, and they showed their qualities.
"I think English football likes the Southampton team and how they've played. January was a great month."