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Squad jets off to get to know new boss
Saints are splashing the cash to allow new manager Mauricio Pochettino two chances at bonding with his new team.
The contrast in destinations for the trips could scarcely be starker.
Saints have this week jetted out to Barcelona for five days in the relative warmth of the Spanish sun, where Pochettinho will feel totally at home.
Next week they will spend four nights in the less salubrious, and certainly much colder, surroundings of the north west of England.
The club are pulling out all the stops to allow the new man time to get to know his squad and get his ideas across.
Pochettino and the squad flew out for the Barcelona trip yesterday, having shelved initial plans to go to Malta that were themselves originally postponed from December.
Pochettino knows the area well, having spent more than five years at Espanyol, known as Barcelona’s second club, as a player and manager. Saints will remain in Spain until Saturday when they will return and begin preparations on home soil for a big away double header at Manchester United and Wigan.
Saints roll up at Old Trafford next Wednesday before taking on Wigan theee days later. Upon their return to England, Saints will try and aid the preparations for both of the big games by spending the necessary money to keep the team up in the north west for much of the week, rather than have them travelling backward and forwards.
Pochettino will be on standby, though, in case he should need a quick return to Hampshire after the United game with the transfer window closing the day after the match at Old Trafford.
Saints might not be enjoying quite the 27c temperatures that Manchester United are currently relaxing in with their mid-season trip to Qatar.
But Barcelona will certainly be markedly warmer than staying in Southampton.
The forecast is for dry weather during the Saints trip with highs of around 11c, compared with a maximum of just 3c is Southampton.
Being away with the team will also give Pochettino a chance to get the players away from everything and focus on his new ideas. Pochettino was largely forced to stick with what Nigel Adkins had been doing for the game against Everton with very little time to adjust and tinker with anything.
He certainly has that opportunity now, though, thanks to the gap in the fixture list created by Saints’ FA Cup third round exit that has given them this upcoming blank weekend.
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