SOUTHAMPTON, England (AP) — The optimism from Southampton's record-setting campaign in the Premier League last season has drained away following the exodus of the club's best talent that will leave many fans fearing the worst.
Joining highly rated coach Mauricio Pochettino in leaving St. Mary's Stadium has been captain Adam Lallana, star striker Rickie Lambert and center back Dejan Lovren (all to Liverpool) as well as young fullbacks Luke Shaw and Calum Chambers.
Almost 100 million pounds ($170 million) was recouped from those sales but the effect on squad morale could be costly.
There appears to be little chance of bettering last season's eighth-place finish, when Southampton earned 55 points — a best-ever haul in the top flight, but new coach Ronald Koeman sees no reason why it can't happen.
"We hope so because that's part of the philosophy," the former Netherlands sweeper said. "Last season was fantastic, but we want to continue. I keep to the philosophy of the club and that brings the success."
The philosophy of the club is to give opportunities to the conveyor belt of young talent Southampton manages to keep producing, and Koeman will do just that.
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