Ralph Hasenhuttl has high hopes for Saints and believes a return to Europa League football would be like Tottenham winning the Premier League.

Hasenhuttl will today face-off against former Saints boss Mauricio Pochettino, who has done a fine job with Spurs since moving from St Mary’s to north London in 2014.

One of the reasons Pochettino left Saints was because he felt he couldn’t fulfil his ambitions at the club, and if Hasenhuttl is successful on the south coast he will inevitably face the question as to whether he can.

The Austrian feels it is a matter of balance, and recognising what achievement looks like for different clubs.

He said: “It’s very hard to say but I don’t know if it must be the goal for us to be one of the top six clubs in England.

“For sure every fan wants as much success as possible, but I think we also have our level where we can over-perform, where we make surprising moments and if we can make it once again in the Europa League it would be the same sort like Tottenham wins the Premier League.

“It’s about what you expect from a club and what they give you.

“At the moment for every Southampton fan they want to see us higher in the table but at the moment we’re struggling against relegation.

“For example, Saturday’s game, I appreciate this game a lot but if we have ten more points even more because it’s a different situation and not so much pressure on us and the fans can enjoy it more than at the moment where we need every point.

“Every club in the Premier League has its spot and ours is maybe at the moment a lower one but we have to rise it.”

Hasenhuttl got his first real taste of Premier League action back in December when he watched from the stands at Wembley as Tottenham beat Saints 3-1 on the day he was appointed.

Much has changed since then, and so much has happened that Hasenhuttl admits he can barely remember it.

“It was a long time ago,” he laughed.

“I think it was not a very good game from us against a very good team and what I expected was that we have a lot of things to do.

“I think it was not the team we have to take as a level where we can compete. It’s a top six club in England.

“The big difference is between these two teams so I was not shocked because I know Tottenham is a very good and tough opponent.”