RONALD Koeman admitted Saints were not clinical enough in front of goal at West Brom – but he hailed a “perfect” display from new signing Virgil van Dijk in the 0-0 draw at The Hawthorns.

The Dutch centre-half, who joined from Celtic on deadline day, was an immense presence at the back, combining his dominance with an eye-catching array of passes on what was a memorable debut.

After the match, Koeman was glowing in his assessment of the 24-year-old, who partnered Jose Fonte at the heart of defence.

“Virgil was in my opinion impressive how he played today,” he said.


“Looks very comfortable with his new teammates and good in defending and we know also one of his qualities is in his passing from the back. He played perfect today.”

Saints dominated the match at The Hawthorns, but were unable to find a way through against a stubborn Albion side.

Koeman was at least able to reflect on a third successive clean sheet in the Premier League, but he was unhappy at his side’s lack of cutting edge at the other end of the pitch.

Asked about another strong defensive performance, he said: “That’s one of the positives of today.

“It’s an away game, we had the experience from last year and we knew we will have a lot of ball possession and then it’s always important what you make out of that ball possession and that was not enough. Not enough to score the goal.

“I think the best chance maybe was in the first half for Jay Rodriguez, and not good enough in the final part in attacking, not clinical enough.

“Sometimes we make too difficult choices in our final pass. If you can’t win, don’t lose.”

Koeman also felt his side were fortunate not to have given away a penalty in the first half, when Callum McManaman took a tumble under a desperate sliding challenge from Matt Targett, as he raced forward from the right.

Interestingly, though, despite it initially appearing as if he had been clearly wiped out by the Saints left-back, West Brom manager Tony Pulis said after the game that he felt his player had actually dived and that he would be speaking to him about it at training on Monday.

“I think it was a difficult situation for the referee,” said Koeman.

“I think Matthew takes a lot of risk to go for a sliding in the box and lucky that the referee wasn’t whistle for penalty, because you can’t say anything about if he whistled for a penalty.

“I said always to the defenders keep on your feet, don’t go down, because that gives the referee the opportunity to give a penalty and lucky that he didn’t whistle for the penalty.”