Pochettino targets prized Chelsea scalp

Mauricio Pochettino believes Southampton can beat another one of the Barclays Premier League big boys when Chelsea come to St Mary's this weekend.

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Saints have won just two their eight matches under the Argentinian, although those victories came in convincing fashion against Manchester City and Liverpool.

The latter came immediately before the international break and leaves the promoted side four points clear of safety heading into this weekend.

"I think we had a chance to win in every game we have had, like against Everton and Wigan," manager Pochettino said.

"From all the games, aside from the QPR one which I wasn't really pleased with my team's performance, I did think we were almost able to win all those games.

"I think against Manchester City and Liverpool we were a lot more effective in front of goal.

"We lacked that kind of effectiveness against the smaller side, but overall I am really pleased with my side's performance and how they have been working."

Southampton have faced Chelsea twice already in 2013, although both matches came before Pochettino arrived.

The Saints boss has studied videos of both January encounters - a 5-1 FA Cup loss and 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge - and believes both sides have developed since then.

"What is clear to me is that they are two very different moments for both Chelsea and Southampton," Pochettino added.

"It was useful for me more than anything to see Chelsea's evolution in these last months, comparing them to the last games they have been playing.

"Also it was useful for me to actually evaluate certain players that I had seen from afar and now have with me so it has been useful for me in that sense."

Just two days after the 2-2 draw at Chelsea, Saints surprised the football world by sacking Nigel Adkins and immediately appointing Pochettino.

Adkins this week returned to the Premier League as manager of struggling Reading and, as fate would have it, takes on his former club in his first home game in charge next weekend.

"In football nothing really surprises me, but I am sure next week we'll have a lot of time to speak about Reading," Pochettino said.

"There is less than 48 hours left until we play Chelsea and basically we just need to be fully focused on the game against Chelsea.

"Next week we will have a lot of time to speak about Reading. For me personally, I am not really influenced by it. I am just really focused on the game against Chelsea."

Pochettino could have a fully-fit squad to choose from for the Chelsea match, with just a few players dealing with knocks.

"We're hoping to have everyone available," he added. "There are one or two players that have some minor injuries.

"We will have to evaluate them on Saturday whether they are fit enough to play. Luke Shaw and Jos Hooiveld for example, while Adam Lallana has had a knock."



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