Ronald Koeman has once more stoked tension with Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal by insisting his countryman is wrong to demand time to improve fortunes at Old Trafford.
The Dutch duo often appear to have a fractious relationship and ahead of their sides’ meeting at Old Trafford on Sunday, Koeman appeared to scoff at van Gaal’s suggestion it would take two years to get United challenging for the title.
“It’s up to him – if he needs two years more, give him two years more,” Koeman said.
“Of course maybe he is doing different to other managers but I don’t believe that you need two years or one year.”
Man United are priced at 1.86 to complete the league double over Southampton following their fortuitous 2-1 success at St Mary’s in December. The Saints are on offer at 4.05 to win at Old Trafford with the draw at 3.50.
The tension between van Gaal and Koeman is unlikely to dissipate in light of Koeman’s assertion that United should be closer to the league leaders Chelsea.
“In (terms of) individual quality of the players, yes,” Koeman said when questioned on the subject.
“It’s an easy answer as a manager to say ‘I need time’. You don’t have time in football.”
Southampton trail United by just a single point going into the Old Trafford showdown.
Koeman’s team have won three of their last four in the league while United have posted just a solitary victory in the same time-frame.
The visitors will have to pay special attention to Robin van Persie – the United forward has scored six times in his last five appearances against Southampton.