Football

Pochettino relishes Southampton return

SOUTHAMPTON TOTTENHAM

Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino returns to former club Southampton tomorrow morning (Singapore time) with a feeling of gratitude, but also a burning desire for a return to form on the road. The north Londoners have not claimed an away victory since September, a run that has left them outside of the Premier League top four.

But they have won four of their last five games overall, which Pochettino believes can be the springboard to a title challenge.

"It's always special to go back," said the Argentinian, who joined the Saints in January 2013 before leaving 16 months later.

"It was a special place for me and my family to have the possibility to start my career in the Premier League."

Spurs go into the game a mammoth 13 points below leaders Chelsea who have played a game more, but Pochettino refuses to give up on the title.

"We can fight for the title at the end of the season. It's up to us to fight and be ambitious and try to be our best," he said.

"With 17 games played, we have more than half the season ahead. All is possible in football.

"We want to attack the last three or four months with the possibility to try to fight for the top four."

Southampton's 3-1 win at Bournemouth means Claude Puel's men have now gone three Premier League games unbeaten since they were knocked out of the Europa League.

Winger Dusan Tadic says spirits are high as they look forward to the clash with Tottenham at St Mary's.

"I think we get a lot of confidence now from the last win and that was really important for us because we had the disappointment of going out of Europe and we needed the points," he said.

"It will be a really difficult match because they have a really good team, a good coach and they're one of the best teams in the league."

Southampton will be without midfielder Jordy Clasie due to a groin problem, while Tottenham's squad should be strong despite winger Erik Lamela's hip injury ruling him out again. - AFP

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