Mauricio Pochettino is looking to prolong his personal run without defeat against Manchester City when Saints play at Etihad Stadium this weekend.
Pochettino recorded his first win in English football with a 3-1 success at St Mary’s in February last year, and followed that up with a 1-1 draw when the two teams met this season in the reverse of this Saturday’s fixture.
The Saints boss says there’s no secret to that record as he prepares for his first trip to the blue half of Manchester since taking charge at Southampton.
“I just think overall we played very well in those two matches,” he told Saints Player.
“There are no secrets in football everything is out there and in the public. I guess the only secret we have is the work that we do during the week at the training ground and that’s also very important to us, but I just think that we played two very good matches against them and we’re hoping that it’s going to be the same story again this weekend.”
Manchester City boast a fine record of 13 wins and just one defeat in their league matches at home this season, and Pochettino says it will be a big contest for both teams.
“We have our brand of pressure to be honest,” he said. “We have the pressure to win and that’s always our focus because we’re very demanding and we’re very ambitious and that’s what we want, we always want to win.
“We know that Manchester City will also have their own pressure because they want to carry on being close to the top of the table, so both teams are going to have an added pressure I think.
“There’s no greater motivation than to be playing against a Manchester City side away from home. It’s an important game for all of the players and that’s already a massive motivation for all of the players, but it’s completely different to the rest of the games that we’ve been facing. In every single game we’re going to be employing different tactics, but it’s already a massive motivation to be playing against an amazing team.
“We’re going to be facing a Manchester City side that is definitely a candidate to win the Premier League,” Pochettino added. “From our point of view we want to maintain our position and we are looking to get the three points and I think it’s going to be a very good match.”
The team head up to Manchester on the back of an impressive 4-0 win over Newcastle United at St Mary’s, and the manager says he’s been keeping a close eye on the squad in training this week, with Morgan Schneiderlin among those pushing for a recall after playing in 20 minutes of the victory over the Magpies.
“He’s trained very well during the week, but we still need to assess him in the final training session on Friday, and we hope that he’s going to be fully fit and fully ready for this game,” said Pochettino, who added a definitive list of absentees.
“There’s some definite nos, which are: [Nathaniel] Clyne, Kelvin [Davis] and Maya Yoshida, but Victor Wanyama may be available for this game.
“As I’ve said before, every game is different and there are a lot of variables that go into deciding the set up for every single game there’s a different starting eleven in each game so we take into account. “There’s the fitness levels of some players to assess, but overall we’re very happy with the performance from last week of course.”