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Pochettino resists remptation to rest stars
Mauricio Pochettino insists he will send out a full strength team to face Manchester United rather than rest players for the key relegation clash at Wigan on Saturday.
The Saints boss will tomorrow take charge of his second game since replacing Nigel Adkins, and it could scarcely be tougher as his side take on the might of the league leaders at Old Trafford.
In recent years there have been a number of teams who have opted to rest key players for away trips to the likes of United when there have been big games just round the corner.
Pochettino could justify such a decision, with only two clear days after the United game before an arguably even bigger clash in the context of Saints’ season at the DW Stadium.
But he insists he will put out his best team to try and get something from the United match and, as revealed by the Daily Echo yesterday, he may even throw Adam Lallana into the mix.
Pochettino said: “Lallana may play, he has been training well and looking okay so he may get some minutes against Manchester United so we will see how that develops.
“We're going to Manchester to win and that has to be our mentality and I'm going to choose the players that will do that for us and for the team.
“Every single game represents three points, whether you are playing against Manchester United, Wigan, Man City or Newcastle.”
He added: "Every game is important, every single match we play is important to us.
"No doubt they are going to be tough and complex games against Manchester City and Manchester United but all games are like that.
"All games are key and the glamour factor does not dictate how we play, the main thing is that we go out with a winning mentality and we want to win every single game, we always respect our rivals but our aim has to always be to get the three points."
Pochettino will still be without Jose Fonte whose knee problem is likely to sideline him for at least another few weeks while Guly do Prado will also be missing, possibly for a few matches, also with a knee injury.
Do Prado’s absence opens up a slot in the attacking left sided role and there will surely be a temptation to throw Lallana in – but only if he is ready.
Pochettino, whose team will travel to the north west today and remain there until after the Wigan game, has at least been able to assess his captain’s fitness during the five day trip to Barcelona the club embarked upon during over the past week.
"We are definitely happy with the break (between the Everton and Man United games) and the more time that passes the more we will be able to get the team playing how we want to play," he said.
"Even against Everton with just four sessions under our belts we saw positive aspects and we just want to keep adding more.
"We achieved everything we wanted out of the trip to Barcelona, the togetherness of the team was very important to us and the players got to know us (Pochettino and new coaching staff) and we got to know the players well.
"It is important that the players feel there is an entire solid team of people working with them at the football club and being together 24 hours of the day was important, not just three or four hours a day in a training session."
Last week's draw at Everton leaves the Saints four points clear of the Premier League relegation zone with 15 games of the season remaining for Pochettino to secure Saints’ top-flight status.