Saints' Perez still excited by FA Cup

Southampton assistant manager Jesus Perez believes the acclaim afforded to success in the FA Cup is still the envy of Europe.

Jay Rodriguez of Southampton

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert has glumly conceded that modern players value money and big contracts more than cup glory.

The pragmatic Scot also unashamedly admitted he prizes Barclays Premier League points over cup victories without second thought.

Saints' Spanish number-two does not believe the knockout competition has lost any of its lustre, though.

Southampton host second-paced Sky Bet Championship club Burnley at St Mary's in Saturday's FA Cup third round tie.

And former Espanyol and Rayo Vallecano coach Perez is adamant no other European domestic cup is revered in quite the same way as the FA Cup.

"If you do well in the FA Cup then you gain big respect from supporters, other clubs and the media," said Perez.

"It's completely different in this case from Italy, Spain and other countries we know well."

Confident that he and manager Mauricio Pochettino have found the Premier League's measure, Perez said the world's oldest knockout competition still retains an unrivalled aura.

"I agree it's the most exciting cup competition there is," he said.

"You have to respect this competition, it's the tradition in England, and it's a little bit different from the other cups.

"In terms of the games, when you play the fans are expecting to see this type of game.

"There's something special about this competition, we've got full respect for it.

"We understand the Premier League and the way you have to play.

"The club helps us to make an easy job of it, especially in the daily task.

"So we have everyone helping us try to do a nice job over here."

Southampton lifted the FA Cup with a 1-0 victory over Manchester United at Wembley in 1976.

Perez insists he and Pochettino are well aware of Saints' decorated cup history, but are not dreaming of a repeat quite yet.

Expecting a stern test from Burnley on Saturday, he said: "We are thinking to play to win this game.

"The Premier League is a long competition, but in the cup everything is possible.

"They won one time and one final as well, we are aware of that.

"You never know, in the cup, because it's special, you play with a different pressure.

"You're not thinking about the table, you're not thinking about getting one point here and three there, it's just a case.

"Both sides play with a different mindset, and that's what makes it exciting."



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