Southampton manager Claude Puel says he has been impressed by Sparta Praha ahead of the latest clash between the teams in the UEFA Europa League.
Saints beat the Czech side 3-0 in their opening Group K game, but Sparta have since won all three of their games in the competition to top the standings, two points ahead of Puel’s men.
Sparta have also changed managers since that meeting at St Mary’s, with David Holoubek in interim charge after replacing Zdeněk Ščasný.
"It’s a difficult game and a very important game, because if you can take three points it will be important for qualification,” said Puel, whose side will reach the knockout stages if they win and Hapoel Be’er Sheva fail to beat Inter at home.
"But we face a very good team, good technical players, a good collective. They have another trainer, they have a strong team, with a good defence and it will be difficult, but we will try to make a good game and take a good result.”
i am confident with all my team.claude puel
Puel is also confident of finding the right balance in his team, as he also bears in mind the upcoming Premier League clash with Everton.
"I think every time I try to put in place a good team with a good balance, good quality and good players,” he said.
“The Europa League is difficult, because the team plays Thursday and then Sunday afternoon. This is very difficult for the teams in it.
"It’s important to consider all the time every possibilities to win, and we know it’s not possible to win every game with the same team and same players, and I am confident with all my team."