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Poch: I will play Rickie and Dani together
The Saints boss is delighted with the capture of the Italian international striker, who could end up costing the club nearly £15m, but insists he is not a replacement for Lambert, rather somebody to work with the talismanic hitman.
Whether Pochettino will adapt his formation to accommodate playing them together or have Osvaldo in a deeper role remains to be seen.
But Saints fans will be salivating at the prospect at seeing the two in tandem – possibly as early as tomorrow’s first home league game of the season against Sunderland at St Mary’s - rather than in competition.
He said: “I don’t think they’re that similar in their traits. I think they could find it very easy actually to play together.
“But we’ll be gauging that as the season unfolds. The Premiership is a very tough competition and there’s also two cup competitions as well, so it’s all very tough in general, and then you also have to think all great players know how to get along on the pitch and know how to play together, regardless of the characteristics that they have.”
Pochettino, who has been fulsome in his praise of Lambert since taking over at the club, has also backed the man whose latest goal secured a 1-0 victory at West Brom on the opening day to thrive with the presence of Osvaldo.
“Rickie has shown time and time again that he’s a very intelligent footballer, that he welcomes the competition and that he welcomes the fact that Osvaldo is here, because it’s going to make him raise his game,” said Pochettino.
“You’re completely right, he welcomes his arrival.”
Pochettino knows Osvaldo well from their time together at Espanyol and is confident he can get the best out of his new signing, and that his bad boy reputation is unwarranted.
“I worked with him at Espanyol more than three years ago. I think he’s a player that’s matured in that time, he’s grown, he’s progressed as well, so overall I think he’s much more of a rounded player and much more of a mature player, and not just on the footballing side, but also in his personal way of being,” he reflected.
“It’s also true that in other countries many times incidents are exaggerated. It’s clear that players that have character, such as Osvaldo, have a certain temper that they need to keep in check. But we have no doubt that he’s going to be surrounded by a group of people that’s going to enable him to play his best football for us.”
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