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Koeman criticises ref Oliver

Ronald Koeman was critical over Michael Oliver's refereeing performance in Southampton's 1-0 loss to Leicester City.

Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Ronald Koeman was critical over Michael Oliver’s refereeing performance as the Saints boss watched table toppers Leicester extend their lead to seven points at the top of the table with a 1-0 win over Southampton.

Southampton were denied what Ronald Koeman believed was a clear penalty in the first half when Danny Simpson blocked Sadio Mane’s shot with his arm.

When Southampton launched a counter attack, Graziano Pelle played the ball through to Mane with the forward one-on-one with Kasper Schmeichel who was caught in no man's land. Mane tried to round the Dane but when the Senegalese forward got his shot away, Simpson, who had made it back to the goal line, blocked the shot with his arm. Referee Oliver decided to give a corner instead of a penalty, a moment in the game that Koeman believed could have changed proceedings.

Koeman said to Southampton's official YouTube channel: "In my opinion, it’s a big penalty.

"It’s a very big moment because it’s a penalty and a red card and you’re normally 1-0 up against ten players and then you win the game normally.

He also said to reporters: "If [Michael Oliver] stays home with his family tonight, he'll realise he did a big, big, big mistake today."

Despite the controversial handball decision, Koeman praised the football that his side played as they lost their first game in four matches.

"After a difficult start, we grew into the game. We had some good attacking football. We dominated the second half.

"We had good football and good crosses but it wasn’t really good enough in our positions in the box. They defended very good."

Southampton also relied on 'keeper Fraser Forster to keep them in the game. The England international made three stunning saves to keep Saints in the game until the final whistle. Koeman praised the way his side played with risk and showed fight until the final whistle.

"If you take a little bit more risk, the risk is always behind with the fast players like [Jamie] Vardy. They had two or three big chances to kill the game but until the last second, we were in the game to take a point."

Despite a frustrating loss, Koeman is adamant that his side can take a lot of positives from the game as they prepare for next weekend's match against struggling Newcastle United.

"First of all, we have to realise we can't start a game like we did today. I think we can take a lot of positives out of the game.

"You know if you don’t win close to the end of the season then it’s always more difficult. We know every weekend it’s unpredictable what can happen in the Premier League but now the focus is for next weekend."

You can check out our review of the match here.