Pochettino expects ‘physical’ Villa

By SFC Media Thu 17 Apr First team

Mauricio Pochettino says Saints will look to bounce back from defeat against Cardiff in a demanding game at Villa Park this weekend.

Last weekend’s 1-0 loss to the Bluebirds meant that Saints failed to close the gap on seventh placed Manchester United, and with only four games remaining, Pochettino says his side must quickly refocus.

The team travel to the Midlands for a game that will be a significant one for the hosts. Villa have suffered ten home defeats this season, with back-to-back losses there against Fulham and Stoke City which has left them four points above the relegation zone heading into this weekend.

“Every game is going to be different and this match is also going to be the same,” Pochettino told Saints Player.

“Runs are meant to be broken and they can end at any given moment so we don’t know when their bad run of home defeats is going to end. Every game is going to be difficult and it’s going to be difficult to predict how they’re going to play at home. 

“We know that we’re going to be facing a very physical and strong side and we’re going to do our best up against that to try and get three points.”

Saints were beaten 3-2 by Villa at St Mary’s in December in a game that Pochettino’s side controlled, but the manager isn’t focused solely on revenge for that loss.

“I think we go into all games with the same mentality and that is to win,” he explained. 

“Against Cardiff we did everything required to win on that day but it just didn’t happen for us. We tried everything that we could to get a good result from that game, and it just wasn’t to be for us. 

“Against Aston Villa it will be the same story, we will go out ready and hoping to win or get a good result against them.

“We always have our own internal pressure that we have to deal with, but it’s also true that Aston Villa will be under some pressure themselves because they’re in a complicated position in the table.

“Overall I think all Premier League games are tough and very demanding because there is a lot of pressure involved, but our mentality never changes it’s always to go out and get a victory on Saturday.”

With 12 points still to play for, Pochettino has been handed a boost by the return of goalkeeper Artur Boruc from injury, but he says he will also be looking to give as many players as possible a run-out between now and the season’s end.

“Artur is OK - he’s fit,” said the gaffer who also revealed that Gaston Ramirez is out of this weekend’s game. 

“When Gaston came off on Saturday it was his other ankle that was injured so now he has both ankles to deal with.

“We still have four games left and we’re going to try to get the maximum number of points from those games. We’re going to be utilising all of the players that we have available to us and we’ll probably bring in some younger players to give them some playing time as well, and overall we just want to finish as best as we can in these last four games of the season.”

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