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  • "Options, something we seem to be really lacking in. But looking at our younger players who let's face it, would be eager/desperate to play in the first team, can come in and provide that spark/impetus to bring the team back to life. This would be on the wings, Rowe and Sinclair could really help the team right now, just putting them on the bench to bring on for the last 15 mins would really help the whole team.
    SRL seems to be really struggling to find the net, at this stage of his career, I feel he needs to drop off a bit and to have a pacey striker behind him to feed off him. Not sure if Sam is ready for either role, and I don't think we have anyone in the youth ranks who could do this either, so a dip in the transfer market is needed. Sell the 'nutter' to juve or whoever offers the most money and use that money to put towards a fox in the box.
    Or, start playing Gaston in that hole behind the striker and leave SRL up front. Gaston has played really well in recent games and he could do with the minutes, he should be more 'fresh' with the lack of games compared to the rest of the squad.
    Just a thought."
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Saints may have to spend

Saints may have to spend

Mauricio Pochettino

Mauricio Pochettino

First published in Sport Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Sports Editor

BACK in November, Saints hit the giddy heights of third place in the Premier League.

For a brief moment, fans were able to dream.

Could this really be the season when Saints pieced together a sustained bid for a Champions League place?

Sadly not, as it’s turned out.

The dream has long gone, and the weekend defeat to Liverpool further underlined how much Saints need to improve if they are to one day challenge the country’s very best.

Though still a very impressive ninth – as I have said before, virtually the highest place they can realistically be – the stats tell their own story.

As of today, Saints are closer to the relegation places than they are to the top four.

Fifteen points clear of the drop zone, and 18 points adrift of fourth placed Manchester City - and the latter have two games in hand.

Saints have obviously made some strides forward this season – they are only two points off equalling their 2012/13 points haul and still have ten games left to play.

But last year there was some big talk from the likes of Pochettino and goalkeeper Artur Boruc of challenging for the Champions League.

Saints splashed out over £30m last summer, and have seen an improvement.

They will need to spend even more this summer if they want to make the stellar leap into the top four.

Saints, it might surprise some people to learn, are the seventh highest scorers in the Premier League this season.

They have bagged 38 goals from 28 games, which is actually one less than they had managed at the same stage of last season.

But they need a lot more goals to become a major force.

Chelsea and Arsenal both have 52 goals so far, while Liverpool and Manchester City have a staggering 73 and 69 respectively.

It is intriguing to see the table printed on this page.

It shows each Premier League club’s record against the clubs currently in the top flight’s top ten.

Saints have managed just a solitary victory in 13 games against the clubs they would like to be competing for a European place alongside.

That was the 1-0 win at Liverpool last September.

Only two clubs have scored fewer goals against the top ten this season than Saints.

That single-goal success at Anfield, meanwhile, was one of just two clean sheets in those 13 games.

So does Pochettino also need to further strengthen his back four this summer, in addition to bringing in more potent goal threats?

These are the sort of questions that need to be asked now, as attention is already starting to turn to 2014/15 already.

Saints’ record against teams in the bottom half of the table is good, and if you want to avoid being sucked into a relegation battle then you need to beat the lowly sides.

But Pochettino’s ambitions are considerably higher than staying out of the bottom three.

That is why the table printed with this article could cause alarm.

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