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Saints under the microscope
Mauricio Pochettino admits Saints are going to be subject to much greater public scrutiny following their superb start to the season but believes it won’t derail their ambitions.
Saints can move back into the top four with victory over Fulham in the Sky televised match at St Mary’s tomorrow evening and on the back of their 1-1 draw against Manchester United the footballing world is starting to take notice.
The bookmakers have reacted quickly, slashing Saints’ pre-season odds of 100-1 for a top four finish to just 25-1 while their relegation odds have gone out from 6-1 to 50-1.
They are now 6-1 from 14-1 for the top six and even a title challenge is now rated at 500-1 from a whopping 2000-1.
Saints are winning plaudits from across football but Pochettino says his side are taking it in their stride.
“It’s also clear that the higher you go up in the table the more you are exposed to public scrutiny and how the public views you,” he explained.
“I repeat as I’ve said in the past that this position is only temporary. The main thing is that at the end of the season if we have been able to achieve the position we want to achieve - that’s what counts, not now.”
Pochettino is finding himself bombarded with statistics about the brilliant start to the campaign but is playing them all down.
“I don’t really think about that. I just think about winning and having my players play as well and as positively as I want them to play,” he said.
“We know that it’s a very long season and that statistics in the end are just there but don’t really mean anything.
“The most important thing is at the end of the season how high we are in the table – that’s all that really counts.”
He added: “I am very proud and happy of the performance of the players – they are the main actors in this whole thing.
“I am very happy for the club, that we are keeping this amazing defensive record.
“I am very happy for the supporters and especially for the chairman as he is the creator and over four years has given shape to this project.
“I am very happy with how we are doing and for the whole of Southampton.”
Saints are having to deal with expectation these days with people now starting to believe a home match against Fulham should be a routine win.
However, after the Cottagers recorded a convincing win over Crystal Palace they must guard against complacency.
“It doesn’t really change anything. We always have maximum 100 per cent respect for our opponents,” said Pochettino.
“We know that Fulham are a very good side and have very talented players.
“Also that their position in the league table is not realistic of how they were doing up until they won that game against Crystal Palace.
“We know that it is going to be tough playing against them and we are going to have to work very hard to get a positive result from this game.“We need to work very hard to get a result from this game.”
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