Writer: Vital Saint
Date:Friday November 1 2013
Manager Mauricio Pochettino has said he's remaining completely grounded for the trip to the Britannia Stadium this weekend.
As he's maintained all along given our start to the campaign, our performances and the fact we find ourselves in the European places at this stage in the season, that the only thing that matters for him and the players is maintaining the focus that has got us to this position to begin with, and that's exactly the same message he's given ahead of the game against Stoke City.
Saints are unbeaten in six and the victory over Fulham set a new record as our best ever start to a top flight campaign, but Stoke won't be pushovers and the manager knows we'll have to be at our best, even if he feels it's right that the club are being recognised in the media for their achievements so far.
'It makes me happy for the fans and for the players as well. It's always nice to get some recognition, it makes me happy for the chairman as well as it's all part of this club, but at the same time, my focus is on the staff and trying to improve on every single game and I'm 100% focused on doing the best for this team and this club.'
Poch admits that despite our start he hasn't taken things easier on the players in training because he wants them to maintain those standards and those fitness as best they can, and then improve on what he and the coaching staff pick out in terms of passages of play in which they feel the team can handle better in our next game.
He also admits that there is a fantastic atmosphere within the camp at the moment, but he can't allow either himself or the players to be distracted by that. Embrace it yes and enjoy it, but don't get complacent and think training can be a joke or not taken as seriously as they did in pre season.
'We expect a very tough and physical game, it's going to be difficult. On average they have the tallest team in the league.'
That might just be Peter Crouch though.
'They still have some aspects from when Tony Pulis was manager, but some new aspects that Mark Hughes as introduced and I think that it's a team which over 90 minutes is able to do two different styles.'
That is one thing that the lads will have to look out for, if Stoke start playing it short and we think they are going to keep it quick, we will have to be alert for a quick direct ball, and of course if we go ahead, you'd expect them to go more direct in response and start throwing everything including the kitchen sink at our box, so from that perspective it's going to be a very different encounter from what we've had so far I think.
Despite the difficulties though, we will obviously want to go three unbeaten on our travels and add to our current tallies.
What Poch doesn't want though is another repeat of the Norwich game, which he still doesn't believe we deserved to lose, but accepts it happens in football as it's the nature of the game. Sometimes it goes for you, and others against you so if Stoke proves to be a similar type of game to that, he wants us to learn from the experience and make sure at the very least we pick up a share of the spoils instead of walking away disappointed with nothing to show for it.
In terms of injury news ahead of the game, given Steven Davis and Dani Osvaldo missed the match against Fulham, he says that both players have made progress from this time last week, but they will again be assessed in training today and then tomorrow before a decision is made on whether they travel.
Guly also has a problem in one of his knees and is set to be assessed by the medical staff today.
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Date:Friday November 1 2013
Stats: Southampton v Man City (Saturday December 7 2013)
Lallana Wants Villa Revenge (Thursday December 5 2013)
Poch - Unhappy With Defending (Thursday December 5 2013)
Stats: Southampton v Aston Villa (Wednesday December 4 2013)
Pre Villa Injury News (Tuesday December 3 2013)
Poch - Frustration & Disappointment (Sunday December 1 2013)
Early Goal Is No Consolation (Sunday December 1 2013)
Stats: Chelsea v Southampton (Sunday December 1 2013)
Poch - It Wasn't Meant To Be (Saturday November 23 2013)
Hooiveld Pleased With Performance Despite Loss (Saturday November 23 2013)
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