Sport Soccer

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Pochettino aiming to derail City

Published 03/04/2014 | 16:27

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Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino, pictured, wants to throw a spanner in the works of Man City's title bid

Mauricio Pochettino is confident Southampton can derail Manchester City's title bid this weekend, even if Sergio Aguero is back from injury.

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As the season enters the home stretch, Manuel Pellegrini's side are fighting it out with Liverpool and Chelsea for the Barclays Premier League crown.

City lie third in the standings but have two matches in hand on their rivals, as well as a potentially season-defining trip to leaders Liverpool next weekend.

First, though, they face a home clash with high-flying Southampton, who have yet to lose to City during Pochettino's tenure.

"We always have the belief that we are going to win," the Saints boss said, having previously overseen a victory and draw against Saturday's opponents.

"We have the belief in every single game that we are going to win.

"We know we are going to be facing a very tough side in Manchester City, a side that is definitely a candidate to win in the Premier League and are one of the best teams in England and Europe.

"Despite that we are still going with the belief that we are going to play our game and we are going to get something out of that game.

"We are going there with a clear idea to play our game, to play our style, and also to try to maintain if we can maintain the high standards that we showed against Newcastle.

"We are going with the mentality to play a very good game against a very tough side."

The challenge will be even tougher should top scorer Aguero be available again.

The Argentina international has been sidelined for the last three weeks with a hamstring complaint but is in line for a return against Saints - not that Pochettino is overly concerned.

"I would like to be playing against him," he said of his fellow countryman.

"I think injuries are a very hard process to withstand, it is not easy for any player, and I always want to be facing the best players who are fully fit.

"I hope he is able to play and looking ahead to the World Cup that increases his chances of going to the World Cup."

Even if Aguero does not make it, Pellegrini can still call upon the likes of David Silva.

"He is the type of player that has the quality of an Iniesta, a Xavi, a Silva, the type of special talent that people enjoy," Pochettino said.

"We hope he can keep having amazing performances with our team and it leads him to getting into the English national side."

Southampton midfielder Lallana has impressed, though, so much so that his displays this term have seen Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool amongst those to have been mentioned with possible summer moves for the England international.

Luke Shaw and Rickie Lambert are other Saints players attracting interest and keeping such talent will likely play a major role in retaining Pochettino's services, who was again linked with the Tottenham hotseat this week.

The former Argentina international said keeping such players "has to be the goal of the club" this summer, but was coy when asked about his own future.

"The first thing is that I still have one more year on my contract," Pochettino said

"The second thing is that we still have six games until the end of the season and we are trying to focus as much as we can to get the maximum number of points out of those games.

"Third of all as first team manager I am always focused on the team and the game ahead.

"I am also working in a calm manner and I am open to discuss with the board whenever it's convenient and necessary the future but I think there is still time until that happens and I am always open to discuss with the board whenever it's necessary in the future."

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