Mauricio Pochettino has warned that qualification for the Europa League can “kill” teams.

Saints have an outside chance of making the cut for the competition either through the FA Cup or the league.

Though only the top five currently qualify for European competition, with the first four entering the lucrative Champions League, there could be further places available depending on cup results.

That could potentially mean a seventh place finish could make the Europa League. Saints are currently only five points off of that mark and hitting form in a nice run of fixtures.

Pochettino had stated his dislike of the Europa League earlier in the season, and reiterated it once more now it is starting to look a slight possibility.

“It hasn’t changed. In my opinion the Europa League is not an attractive competition,” said Pochettino.

“That is my personal opinion, I’m not talking about anyone else, it’s my personal opinion and as Mauricio Pochettino there is no interest in the Europa League.

“The ambition of course is to one day play the Champions League and that I would be interested in.

“That is my opinion, not the club’s opinion.”

He added: “It’s not a competition that’s attractive to me. I don’t see the appeal of the Europa League.

“I think it’s a competition for teams that are not good enough to be playing with the best.

“I think it is a competition that kills you in the sense that there are a lot of midtable teams that put a lot of effort into the Europa League and then are not able to do anything in the league, they are not able to compensate for that bad run of form in the league so it brings them down.

“If we are sincere, if we are honest, we want to be playing with the best so the goal always has to be the Champions League, not the Europa League.”

Pochettino has seen the effect entering the competition has had on the league form of many of its participants and, though accepting it would be a milestone for Saints, doesn’t want that fate to befall his side.

“There are many examples not just in England where clubs are suffering from playing in the Europa League,” he reflected.

“We see examples of clubs in Spain and Italy and it causes problems in their league form as we have seen with Swansea and these other clubs.

“I think it is a competition that kills you and if you don’t get to the final and win it then you don’t get anything out of it so it’s a tough competition in that sense.”

Pochettino certainly didn’t rule out that Saints could one day make the Champions League, saying: “Why not play one day in the Champions League with Southampton?”