sport

Krueger upbeat after 'pain'

Southampton chairman Ralph Krueger believes the club's "summer of pain" is unlikely to be repeated thanks to a complete restructuring at St Mary's.

Saints came into the summer on the back of their best ever Premier League season, having finished eighth with a points haul of 56.

However, they have since been hit by a number of high-profile exits, as manager Mauricio Pochettino and his staff were followed through the door by Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren, Luke Shaw and Calum Chambers.

That exodus has seen the term 'meltdown' bandied around and led some fans to enquire about season-ticket refunds - concerns Krueger understands but is keen to allay.

"I don't ever want to sit here and say we're going to be the best, but I want to know that we're as well run as anybody else," he said. "That's what we're working towards here.

"If we do that here, then the people of Southampton and the fans of the Saints will see an excellent level of Premier League football for a long time.

"That is the only way you will have a healthy club in Southampton, if you can create that environment - otherwise, it is a fly-by-night situation.

"You might get one good year, you might be there. You don't want to be a yo-yo team, we want to be a stable organisation.

"This is a summer of pain. It is a summer of pain on many, many different levels. It has been six months of pain because so much change has gone on and people always have fear in change.

"That's why we have to have patience with the team now because it is not going to come overnight.

"But everything we're doing is driven by the fact that we want to create a really honest, healthy structure and we want to be as well run as anybody.

"There was no executive board here. At this club, it cannot be that if one person gets hit by a bus - that would be really tragic - the club doesn't keep moving forwards.

"Whatever happened before is less relevant than what I found. The other thing that is really important is that everybody who is going out to execute is executing on the same page and in the same level.

"We've done that with our reworking. We've completely redefined, from within, the Southampton way, completely redefined the values and how we want to get to where we want to get and everybody is involved now."