Sport Soccer

Saturday 22 September 2018

Pellegrino hoping Saints can kick-start campaign with Magpies win

Mauricio Pellegrino's Southampton have eight points from seven games this season
Mauricio Pellegrino's Southampton have eight points from seven games this season

Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino has called on his squad to kick-start their misfiring campaign ahead of Newcastle's visit to the St Mary's Stadium on Sunday.

The Saints headed into the international break following successive defeats, at home to Manchester United, and then on the road at Stoke.

While Pellegrino's side have shipped only seven goals from as many fixtures this term, they have failed to find the back of the net on four occasions.

But with three of their next four league matches at home - starting with the visit of the newly-promoted Magpies - Pellegrino believes it is time for his goal-shy team to deliver.

"The game on Sunday is really important for us," Pellegrino said. "It is true that every single game is important, but of our next four games, we have three at home and we have to push ourselves to get the points we deserve in other games.

"I would like to win as many games as we can, but the position right now does not mean anything. We have to keep going because we are dominating and controlling the games.

"If we drew our last match against Stoke we would not be talking about changing a lot of things. Sometimes you think you have to change things after you have not got the result. But we have to analyse what we are doing right, what we are doing wrong, and we have to keep going with this mentality.

"We have to improve not just in attack, but also in defence and in a lot of areas we can be better. Hopefully it will be a good possibility this Sunday to show that we are better than the last game."

Standing in the adjacent dugout to Pellegrino at St Mary's on Sunday will be his close friend and mentor Rafael Benitez.

Pellegrino, 46, played under Benitez at Valencia and then Liverpool, before joining the Spaniard's coaching team at Anfield and then following him to Inter Milan.

"Rafa doesn't drink too much, so I will invite him to have a Coke after the game," Pellegrino joked.

"I try to learn from everybody. When you consider I am really young in this profession, I am only starting, and I want to learn every single day to try to be better.

"Rafa doesn't need too much advice from me because he is a manager with a lot of experience in the Premier League. He has worked for 20 years, more or less, at different situations. It will be really nice to be with him again and to play against him."

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