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Long backed to fill Pelle void at Southampton

Ronald Koeman is confident Shane Long can be the man to lead the line for Southampton.


With regular starter Graziano Pelle suspended after picking up five bookings, the Saints go into the weekend's clash with Manchester City without their top attacker.

However, Koeman has faith in Republic of Ireland international Long who is fully fit after missing some of the early part of the season.

"You'll always miss a player who regularly starts but we can certainly cope," said Koeman. "If we couldn't, I would be doing something wrong, because we're only talking about one player in the squad.

"Shane's a different player, with different qualities but also a very dangerous front player. He was a long time injured, he played 90 minutes last weekend and he will start again.

"Our style will be the same; that we try to play football, to build up from the back, but of course in direct play, it needs to be changed a little bit.

"Graziano's the top-scorer in the team, but last season we played without him at Chelsea away and had a good result.

"I still remember what John Terry said after the game that 'we found it so tough to play against Shane Long'. So hopefully we can see the same again now."


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