Saints manager Mauricio Pochettino insists that the increasing focus on his contractual situation will NOT become a distraction.

Pochettino’s current deal runs until the end of next season, and many fans would like to see him now commit to a longer stay.

There have been some suggestions that Saints are discussing an extension with him, which would undoubtedly send the club into the summer with a more settled feeling.

As was the case last week, the Saints boss batted away questions about his future and whether negotiations were taking place.

However, he did say he was “very happy” to hear comments from Rickie Lambert in the Daily Echo this week, with the striker praising the boss and encouraging the club’s board to agree a new deal with him.

“It’s not something that’s ever going to become a distraction for me,” said Pochettino. “It’s just not a distraction.”

He added: “My priority is to do as well as we can towards the end of the season, that’s my only priority at the moment.”

Lambert had summed up the feelings of many people associated with Saints when he said he hoped that a new contract could be sorted out with Pochettino before the summer.

The forward also said the sky was the limit in terms of his manager’s potential, and that a fresh deal would reassure everyone at the club about the direction in which it is heading.

Responding to Lambert’s words, Pochettino said: “The best compliment a manager can get is that a player, publicly, says that, so I am very happy to hear it.

“Regarding any new negotiations, there is no changes from last week until now.

“The press knows exactly that I don’t really like to talk about assumptions.

“I don’t really like to talk about rumours, and when anything happens, either ‘yes’ or ‘no’ or whatever happens, a public statement will be made.”

Tomorrow’s opponents, Tottenham, have been linked with a move for Pochettino this summer, if current manager Tim Sherwood is axed.

But the Saints boss gave those reports short shrift when they were put to him.

“Rumours are more than normal in football, and we’re completely fine with the rumours hanging around. There’s no problem with that,” he said.

“So I don’t really have anything to comment regarding that.

“When I was at Espanyol I was rumoured to be linked to other clubs, nothing ever came of those rumours and now the same thing is happening at Southampton.

“It’s just something that doesn’t faze me in any way.”