Southampton's Pochettino silent on future plans

Mauricio Pochettino has vowed not to let his unsettled future affect Southampton's outside-bet push for Europa League football.

Southampton's Argentinian manager Mauricio Pochettino gestures during the English Premier League

Saints boss Pochettino has one more year to run on his St Mary's deal, but has been the subject of constant speculation on a summer move.

The former Espanyol manager refused to commit beyond the summer when right-hand man Nicola Cortese quit Southampton in January.

While a new contract is expected to be proposed, Pochettino has been in no rush to sign an extension.

The ex-Argentina defender will not make any hasty decisions just to mollify his Saints situation however.

"My priority is to do as well as we can towards the end of the season, that's my only priority at the moment," said Pochettino ahead of Sunday's Barclays Premier League trip to Tottenham.

"Speculation is not something that's ever going to become a distraction for me.

"It's just not a distraction for me, but I completely understand interest to know, and I understand points of view as well."

Southampton sit eighth, trailing fifth-placed Spurs by eight points.

Should Arsenal lift the FA Cup, finishing sixth in the Premier League would be enough for Europa League qualification, a battle Pochettino admits is an uphill struggle for his side.

One man Pochettino believes is finding the form who could inspire an unlikely climb up the ranks is £12million forward Gaston Ramirez.

The summer 2012 capture has taken time to settle to English football after a stint at Bologna, but Pochettino is confident the Uruguayan is ready to hit his peak now.

"We're very happy with his performances of late," said Pochettino.

"He has been training under certain precaution this week after cramps, but it is not serious.

"Europe would be a difficult goal to achieve but it would be wonderful for the club all the same.

"I think it's [his progress] is all down to the great staff that we have here.

"We have Jesus [Perez, assistant manager] that does great work with the players, we have a great technical staff, medical staff, and their main concern is just for the well-being of the players, to try to get the very best out of every single player.

"So we do work with all these players, and, in the end, we do get the great performances that we're after.

"Gaston's a young player and it's completely different to be playing in the Italian league and to be playing in the Premier League, so there's a lot of factors that you need to factor in, and there's different timings for every single player."

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