Morgan Schneiderlin has warned champions Manchester City they can expect “many problems” at St Mary’s this weekend.
The clubs will face each other in a televised encounter on Saturday evening, going head-to-head for the first time since their dramatic clash at the Etihad Stadium on the opening day of the campaign.
Saints came close to a famous result on that occasion, coming from behind to take a second-half lead, before a late City rally saw the Premier League holders prevail 3-2.
Schneiderlin, pictured, insists that Roberto Mancini’s side will find Saints even tougher opponents this time round – and that Saints can claim their first win of the season against a side in the top half of the top flight.
“When we speak about Manchester City, yes of course we played very well (at the Etihad),” said the midfielder.
“It was our first game in the Premier League. For myself it was my first game in the Premier League as well.
“It was a good performance, but we lost the game. It was a pain.
“But I’m sure we can show Manchester City how far we have come and we can cause them many problems.
“They are the favourites, but we showed since the start of the season that we can cause problems to anyone and we will cause some problems to Manchester City.”
While Saints go into the weekend with a slight cushion in their battle for survival, City have no such comfort at the top end of the table.
With 13 games left, they trail cross-city rivals and leaders Manchester United by nine points.
While memories of reeling in Sir Alex Ferguson’s men last year remain reasonably fresh in City minds, keeper Joe Hart has warned that there is no margin for error.
“We have to win at Southampton,” he said bluntly.
If Saints’ performances against the Manchester sides so far this season are anything to go by, that will be no easy task.
Twice against United and once against City they have lost by just a single goal.
On each occasion, it can be argued that Saints deserved more.
And Schneiderlin is confident that Mauricio Pochettino’s men can take all three points this time.
“Against Man United everyone (could see) in the second half they couldn’t get out of their box,” said the midfielder, referring to the 2-1 defeat at Old Trafford last week.
“Even Sir Alex Ferguson, the greatest manager ever, he says that we were the best team (to play there this season).
“So we’re confident we can cause problems to many teams, and I’m sure Manchester City is aware of that, and we’re sure we can win this game.”
French ace Schneiderlin has been an immense presence for Saints in midfield this season, and the 23-year-old is relishing the chance to test his skills against some of City’s talents on Saturday.
“I’m looking forward to competing against any player,” he said. “Whether I’m playing against Wigan, Manchester City, Manchester United, I just want to prove against the guy I’m playing against that I’m on top of him.
“That’s what I want in every game.
“Of course, I’m itching to play against David Silva. Yaya Toure may be back (from African Cup of Nations duty). They are great players.
“But, to be honest, I don’t care about the names.
“I just want to do my best.”