Southampton duo Ronald Koeman and Graziano Pelle have landed the Barclays Premier League Manager and Player of the Month awards for September.
Koeman guided the Saints to three wins out of three last month, beating Newcastle, Swansea and QPR in a sparkling run of form which lifted them to second place in the league.
The Dutchman fought off competition from Leicester boss Nigel Pearson, Crystal Palace manager Neil Warnock and Chelsea’s Jose Mourinho, who all enjoyed a successful month.
In-form striker Pelle edged out team-mate Morgan Schneiderlin to the award after netting three goals – two in the 4-0 win over Newcastle and a superb, acrobatic winner against QPR.
Speaking after receiving the award, Koeman told Sky Sports News HQ: “It’s a nice compliment. It’s an award and I knew that in England they give an award every month and they have the award for the best manager of the month and even the best player.
“We had a nice start to the season and for that, it’s nice to win of course. It’s a personal prize but, as we know we do it together. You need players with good spirit, good ambition and I’m proud of the players for the start of the season but we have to continue.”
Koeman was full of praise for the striker who moved with him from Feyenoord to St Mary’s in the summer transfer window.
“The question was could he do the same as he did in Holland because the Premier League is more difficult to score in?” he added.
“It’s more difficult for strikers to score against better defenders. He’s doing fantastic, he’s scoring goals but he’s also an important player for us in the way we play.”
Reflecting on his first few months in English football, and on receiving the award, Pelle said: “When I came here, the first month, it was not so easy.
“It was a really big difference in a good way because it was more difficult and a big challenge for me and I really hard to work harder than I usually do.
“To have already got the player of the month award in September is a big emotion. I have to say thanks to the trainer for giving me this opportunity to come here.”
The award rounds off a brilliant week for Pelle, who marked his international debut with the winning goal in Italy’s European Qualifier against Malta.