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No Points Target For Us, Manager Insists

PUBLISHED

18:31 28th February 2013

Mauricio Pochettino says he has not set his team any targets from their remaining 11 league matches – only that they should aim to win every game.

Southampton welcome bottom club Queens Park Rangers this weekend, meaning the opportunity is there for Pochettino's players to move 13 points clear of last place.

Other top-flight managers have this week expressed a points total that they feel will guarantee their respective sides safety, but Saints gaffer Pochettino is not planning on coming up with a mathematical target of his own.

"We haven't set ourselves a certain amount of points – we just aim to win every game," he told the press ahead of Saturday's game. 

"We have to set out to win every single match and then, at the end of the season, we will look at the ambitions that we had and assess how far we came in achieving those ambitions.

"I don't really evaluate the situations of other teams, but I do consider our situation and the three points we need are a lot more important than [thinking about others], so it's up to other managers to judge their own teams.

"We deserved to get a better result at Newcastle but we were unlucky," Mauricio added of last Sunday's 4-2 defeat at St James' Park. 

"We've been on a run where we've got draws, wins and losses so we've had varying results but our game-plan has been the same.

"The most important thing is to maintain that way of playing because that's what's going to bring us closer to getting wins."

Saturday's game has an added edge for Saints fans given it sees the return of former manager Harry Redknapp, who was in charge when the club was relegated to the second tier in 2005.

However, Pochettino distanced himself from the debate about what sort of reception his Rangers counterpart will receive from the St Mary's crowd, adding that he hopes there is a positive atmosphere for his players.

"I'm not actually aware of what happened with him here," said Pochettino who, like Redknapp, celebrates his birthday on Saturday. 

"I do know about Southampton's past but I don't know every detail of what happened. My main aim is to generate a positive atmosphere for my team. 

"I will thoroughly respect whatever the fans want to say on Saturday, but what's truly important is that they get behind the team because that will push us to get three points as best we can. 

"It's going to be a very important game for us. I think both the players and the fans need to be fully focused on winning this game because there are three points at stage which are really important."

Pochettino says he will assess the availability of his squad tomorrow, with Luke Shaw a doubt after coming off at Newcastle with a thigh injury.

The manager says he has some other issues to consider, though Guly is back in training after recovering from a knee problem.

Mauricio also took time to speak about his first five weeks in England following his appointment in late January, saying that he has thoroughly enjoyed his start to life at Southampton.

"It's very different to Barcelona, but we're very happy to be here," he said on behalf of his fellow coaches. 

"We've found ourselves in a place that is very quiet during the week because we spend from 7am to 8pm every day at the training ground so we don't really get to see much of the city. 

"We experience football in a much more intense way here. We've very aware of the passion of the English fans in the Premier League. In every game we've played at St Mary's, we've felt that warmth and kindness from the fans. So far, so good!"

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