Pochettino hoping for strong end
Published 10/05/2014 | 14:17
Mauricio Pochettino hopes his Southampton side can finish the Barclays Premier League season with a flourish by defeating Manchester United on Sunday.
Saints are certain of an eighth-placed finish after a campaign which has attracted numerous plaudits and admirers eyeing talent including captain Adam Lallana and left-back Luke Shaw - and the manager himself.
"We always want to win and get the three points and we want to have a very good performance on Sunday. There is no exception on Sunday," Pochettino said.
"Overall the season been fantastic. Brilliant.
"I am very pleased with the great season that we had.
"I think between December and January we went through a really bad run of results, we had several injuries we had to face, perhaps we lost an important number of points throughout that bad run.
"It is not just that we won games but how we played in those games that pleases me.
"We have done an analysis of everything we have done since we arrived here and from the moment we arrived here the half of that season and this season as well.
"We have definitely seen a progress and an evolution of this team from the first season to this season.
"We are very happy and proud with how this team has performed."
Winning at Liverpool in September was Pochettino's highlight.
"There were many great moments through the season, many amazing moments for this football club and also many bad moments," he said.
"There were many photographs and images taken and one of those could be that away win at Liverpool."
Meanwhile, Ryan Giggs wants to sign off his spell as Manchester United manager by leading the club into the Europa League.
Giggs' final act as interim United boss comes at St Mary's - the last match of what has been a dreadful campaign.
Ever since he made his debut back in 1991, Giggs has never ended a season without having the prospect of European football to look forward to after the summer break.
But this year United are looking increasingly likely to finish outside the qualification places. Already without a chance of making the Champions League, United will miss out on the Europa League unless they beat Southampton and Tottenham lose at home to Aston Villa.
Many United fans want their team to finish seventh. The Europa League is far less prestigious than the Champions League and not qualifying for Europe can help a team's domestic fortunes - as seen with Liverpool this year.
Giggs does not agree with those who say the Europa League would be more trouble than it is worth, though.
"I maintain my stance, we want to be in Europe," United's interim player-manager said.
"We can only qualify for the Europa League and we will carry on trying to do that.
"It would have been in our hands now if we had beaten Sunderland (last week) because Tottenham lost (to West Ham).
"That was disappointing for us."
Europe or no Europe, whether Giggs will be involved with United - either as a player or a coach - is still up in the air.
"I am going to take a holiday as soon as the season finishes and discuss with family and friends what to do next," said the Welshman, who came off the bench for a 20-minute cameo in the 3-1 win over Hull on Tuesday night.
"It is not something I am thinking too much about, but I will."
Defender Phil Jones (shoulder) and striker Wayne Rooney (groin) are out of the match while g oalkeeper Anders Lindegaard (illness) and defender Rafael (thigh) are doubts.
Centre-back Jonny Evans (ankle) is unavailable but 18-year-old striker James Wilson should be fit despite suffering a knock on his goalscoring debut against Hull on Tuesday.