Mauricio Pochettino is eagerly anticipating Saturday’s early kick-off at packed out St Mary’s against an in-form Everton team.
The Toffees arrive in Southampton on a run of eight wins from their last nine league matches for a live televised game which pits Pochettino’s side against a team chasing a Champions League position.
With a full house expected, the Saints boss is also looking forward to the atmosphere inside the ground ahead of a game between two enterprising teams.
“I do like the time that we are starting on Saturday,” Pochettino told Saints Player. “It’s a time that I enjoyed playing in and I do hope that the fans will be in full support tomorrow, as they always are, and I hope that they can lead us to a good result against a very good team.
“It’s going to be an amazing challenge because we’re going to be facing a team that’s trying to break into the top four.
“They’re a great side and they’re having a great end to the season as well, but we’re going to try and dominate the game and to win the game with a very good performance against them.
“I fully admire Roberto Martinez and I admire his career and everything he’s been doing especially now at Everton and it’s going to be very good on Saturday. There’ll be two teams who like to play good football that will be facing each other at St Mary’s.”
Saints haven’t scored a goal from open play in this calendar month, with Pochettino accepting that it has taken time to get used to playing without Jay Rodriguez in the side.
“It’s always hard to try and replace a player like Jay Rodriguez, especially a player of his qualities,” he said.
“It’s hard to find another player that has the same qualities as Jay, he’s a quality player of course, and he was a very important player to Southampton when he was playing. We just have to adapt to that and complement it with other players that can come in and bring a different kind of aspect to the team. We wish Jay the best now that he’s started his period of recovery now.
“We need to assess our situation,” continued the gaffer, as he surveyed his injury list. “Yesterday Morgan Schneiderlin received a heavy knock to his quadriceps and he’s definitely out of the game. Added to that we also have Kelvin Davis, Maya Yoshida, Gaston Ramirez and of course, Jay Rodriguez. All of these absences will make it possible for younger players to get into the team.”
Prior to his interview with the Club, Pochettino was asked whether it was helpful that the board had released a statement via director Les Reed, and the gaffer responded in typically good spirit.
“I think it’s very good for the club and it’s very good for everyone here, but I still think I’m going to be dealing with the same questions every week.”