Pochettino: I'm happy at Saints
Published 06/02/2014 | 17:47
Mauricio Pochettino insists he is happy at Southampton amid links to Real Madrid, although stopped short of committing his long-term future to the club.
The former Argentina international arrived at St Mary's 13 months ago a relative unknown in this country and facing an uphill battle to win over hearts and minds after the manner in which he replaced Nigel Adkins.
However, Pochettino's high-pressing style and focus on home-grown talent soon won over the doubters, with his stock rising in tandem with Saints' own fortunes.
Southampton were three points clear of the relegation zone when the former Espanyol boss took control and now lie ninth in the Premier League, just five points off reigning champions Manchester United.
That improvement in fortunes led to interest from Tottenham when they disposed of Andre Villas-Boas and reports this week suggest he is on Real Madrid's radar should Carlo Ancelotti leave.
"You all know I am not one to speak about rumours, speak about unrealistic things, intangible things so I really have no comment on that," Pochettino said.
"I also don't like to talk about the future - I am not one to talk about the long-term future.
"Real Madrid are an amazing club, a great club and you never know what could happen in football, but at the moment I am really happy at Southampton and that is my present right now. Nothing else."
Pochettino's deal at Southampton runs until the end of next season and plans to assess his position this summer.
The Saints boss confirmed he has not spoken to non-executive chairman Katharina Liebherr since she first replaced Nicola Cortese and was keen to avoid talk about penning a new deal.
"I understand that the club is going through some changes at the moment," Pochettino said.
"The club needs some time to reorganise. It is a time of reorganisation at the club. Everyone needs time to adapt to their new roles.
"I also want to say I have until the end of this season and the next, so I still have some time left."
Speculation will continue about Pochettino's future for the foreseeable future, but at least he will not be pestered about Dani Osvaldo anymore.
The Italy international's ill-fated five-month stay ended on transfer deadline day, with the club-record signing joining Juventus on loan with a view to a permanent move after an altercation with team-mate Jose Fonte in training.
"I am very happy with that situation and how it panned out in the end," Pochettino said. "I thought it was a win-win situation for all the parties involved.
"I am very happy with the squad that we have and I am looking forward to our next game against Stoke. That is my main focus at the moment."
Pochettino expects to be able to call on Victor Wanyama against Stoke after overcoming a knock sustained in the 3-0 win at Fulham, although Calum Chambers will be assessed after getting a dead leg in the same match.
Teenage striker Sam Gallagher will not be available, though, having been excused from training following the death of his father, Richard, after a short illness.
"I want to take this time to send my heartfelt condolences to him and his family from the entire Southampton family, from the players and the staff," Pochettino said.
"It is a very tough moment indeed and we will give him our full support in this really tough moment.
"Sam is going to be with his family until Monday. They need him to be present, they need to be untied and together.
"He will come back on Monday but this is a time he needs to be with his family."