Pochettino: No limit to Saints rise

27 October 2013 09:16

Southampton are enjoying their best ever start to a top-flight season and manager Mauricio Pochettino believes their rise will continue.

First-half headers from Jay Rodriguez and Rickie Lambert proved the difference at St Mary's where Fulham were fortunate to escape on the end of just a 2-0 defeat.

The three points propelled Saints to third in the Barclays Premier League and made this a better start than they managed when finishing runners-up in 1983/84.

When asked if a similar finish was possible, Pochettino said "I don't know" in English and with a smile but believes there are no barriers stopping his side.

"I want to congratulate my players because they put in an extraordinary performance today," the former Argentina defender said.

"It is not just about my players that are playing regularly, but also that are not playing regularly and are on the bench.

"It shows that we believe as a collective, we are playing as a collective and reaping the results from that.

"I have been saying for a couple of weeks now that the sky is the limit. We don't set ourselves any limits.

"The most important thing is that we keep on learning, that we keep on improving, that we keep on playing as a team.

"The position in the league now is not important, the main thing is that we continue improving."

While unlikely to match the second-place finish of 19 years ago, there is growing talk that European qualification is a possibility.

Saints boasted 67 per cent of possession in this evening's clash and completed 549 passes in contrast to Fulham's 234 - not that Pochettino is bothered.

"I think statistics are evil," he said. "They don't really show anything.

"Today it is okay as we win, but when you lose they are not as important.

"I think more than anything today it is about how we played aside from the three points, aside from getting the victory.

"Statistics are relative and more than anything I am satisfied with how we won today."

Southampton's start to the season will also please England manager Roy Hodgson.

Lambert was one of six English players that started against Fulham, marking his return to the line-up with a goal and an assist.

"That is something Mr Hodgson has to worry about, not me," Pochettino said when asked of his chances of making the World Cup squad.

"Of course I feel a special bond with my players I wish they could all go to Brazil, to the World Cup, but I know that is not possible.

"I am not the one to make that decision, but I wish them all of the best."

Understandably, Martin Jol cut a frustrated figure after the match that saw their two-match winning streak come to a comprehensive end.

"The first half I really felt we could be on the end of a hammering today and to come away with a 0-0 in the second half is the only good thing," he said.

"It was disappointing, you know? We had a problem with Adam Lallana up front and the rotation with Jay Rodriguez and Rickie Lambert.

"But that had nothing to do with the goals. One goal was from a corner kick again and a cross with a flick on. That was disappointing.

"To come back into a game Southampton [will be hard] as you know they have only conceded three goals up until now, so it never easy.

"I thought after the first half we really had to repair the damage and that is what we tried to do with Aaron Hughes.

"That helped a bit because we couldn't defend well because Lallana drifted infield and Sascha Riether stayed out so we had a little problem defensively."

Source: PA

World Cup Group G

Pos Team Pld Pts
- Belgium 0 0
- Panama 0 0
- Tunisia 0 0
- England 0 0