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The FA Cup Fourth Round

Pochettino plots La Liga raid

New manager Mauricio Pochettino says he will bring in players from La Liga to ensure that his "ambitious project" at Southampton has every chance of success.

Last Updated: 22/01/13 at 21:39 Post Comment

Pochettino, 40, guided Saints to a 0-0 draw with Everton on Monday in his first match in charge since replacing Nigel Adkins, who was sacked on Friday after two-and-a-half years successful years at the helm.

In a one-on-one interview with Revista de la Liga's Guillem Balague, former Espanyol manager Pochettino outlined his vision for the club.

"What attracted me was the structure I was presented with when I spoke to the club," he said. "Also, I wanted to work with young players; Southampton has the youngest squad in the Premier League.

"I like the idea of developing young talent and working with the coaching staff at the formative level. It strikes me as an ambitious project, a project with a view to the future.

"Obviously, first of all we will be looking at the players coming through the academy, the young players who have grown up with English football at Southampton. Beyond that, Spain is obviously a market which I know better than any other and which is rich with talent."

Southampton remain in 15th place in the Premier League after Monday's draw but are now four points clear of the relegation places after extending their unbeaten run in the league to six games.

Although Everton missed some clear-cut chances after the break to earn victory, Pochettino felt his side did enough in the first half to deserve all three points.

"I really liked what I saw in what was a very strong first half for us," he reflected. "It was exactly what we were looking for in terms of building for the future.

"Perhaps the hard work of the first half and the fact that we hadn't got the reward we deserved caught up with us in the second and we weren't as fresh. Generally speaking, it was a good performance.

He added: "The aim for Southampton is very clear: to consolidate our place in the Premier League and finish as high as possible. That is the objective of the entire team. But we also want to build a solid foundation for the future."

Welcoming

Speaking in Spanish, Pochettino insisted that his inability to communicate in English would not limit his immediate impact at Southampton, saying "Sometimes the language of football is more gestural than vocal".

And he stressed that he does have the full support of everyone at the club despite the shock sacking of Adkins, who had guided Southampton to the Premier League via back-to-back promotions.

"I haven't had a lot of time to settle yet - what with the game yesterday and getting to know everybody, the players, the staff, the whole family here at Southampton. That's all I've been doing," he said.

"We've been working round the clock for three days. I'm very grateful for the attitude of the players and the people who work at the club, as well as the fans for being so welcoming."

Pochettino and Espanyol parted ways in November with the club bottom of La Liga after 13 games of the season, but despite that dire run the Argentine still left with a record of 49 wins from his 146 league games in charge.

When asked if he was sacked, Pochettino told Revista: "I don't think it really makes a difference now. What the president of Espanyol, the board of directors and I know is that it was a mutual agreement to rescind my contract. We believed that the project had come to an end."

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