Ronald Koeman
Ronald Koeman has taken aim at Chelsea over their influence at his former clubGetty

Southampton manager Ronald Koeman has criticised Chelsea's influence over former club Vitesse Arnhem ahead of the Europa League third qualifying round tie.

Roman Ambramovich's close friendship with Vitesse owner Alexander Chigirinsky has seen the Blues loan several players to the Dutch club, with Isaiah Brown, Nathan, Lewis Baker and Danilo Pantic set to begin the season with the Eredivisie club. Chelsea sent swathes of players out on temporary spells last term, with 15 players already having agreed to spend the season away from Stamford Bridge.

Koeman began his managerial career with Vitesse, after learning his trade as an assistant coach with the Netherlands national team and then Barcelona, and comes up against his former side as Saints begin their European campaign on 30 July.

But in the lead up to the game, he has lamented how Vitesse are far removed from their roots, amid the increased influence of Chelsea. "It was a great experience for me," Koeman said, according to Sky Sports. "It was my first club to be first-team manager.

"At that time, Vitesse was growing. It was two years because they got some problems with the chairman at that time and with the sponsor of the club. After that, the club was a little bit more down and now it's in a new situation in the club because they have an owner who is connected to Chelsea.

"In my time, we played in front of 25,000 to 26,000 people every home game and now if they play against Ajax, PSV or Feyenoord, there is 20,000 or 22,000 maximum. Maybe the people lost a little bit of the connection, the feeling with the club, because it is not really like before. I don't know. That's from a distance."