The Saints took the lead through Graziano Pelle, but fell behind to an Anthony Martial brace. Juan Mata extended United’s advantage, and while Pelle found the net again, so set up a tense finale, the south-coast club were unable to find the equaliser.
Koeman took precautions ahead of the match in order to nullify United’s attacking threats, particularly that of Memphis Depay, by dropping attack-minded full-back Cedric Soares.
He is clearly distraught with the Saints’ performance at the back, and has slammed his defence, as well as a supposedly poor decision by Japan centre-half Maya Yoshida.
“I hate players – in general, not to criticise Maya who made that mistake – I hate players who pass the ball always back to the goalkeeper,” the coach began, as per the Mirror.
“Play the ball into the space in front because then you put the pressure on them. We saw the weaknesses of Manchester United today defensively. Every day we tell the players: ‘Play that ball and don’t play the ball back to the goalkeeper’.
“I will tell them tomorrow the same story because it is always a risk. We have to learn from that because we made that mistake last year and we did it again today.
“You can talk about tactics, and goalkeepers, offside or not offside but we lost by ourselves and not by our opponent. In that moment in the game we lost total belief and total organisation.”
The Saints were wholly unimpressive defensively, and appear to be missing the calming presence of Morgan Schneiderlin, who was featuring against his former club this summer after swapping Southampton for United during the summer.
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The Frenchman’s calming presence, defensive resiliency and passing accuracy were all valuable for the Red Devils, while his replacement at St. Mary’s, Victor Wanyama, couldn’t recreate the same stability in the heart of the park.
Southampton also shipped three at home to Everton earlier in the season, and have conceded eight goals in their six opening fixtures.