Southampton V Hull at St. Mary's Stadium : Match Preview
Southampton V Hull - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.
Pochettino sees the positives
Mauricio Pochettino hopes the positivity surrounding Jay Rodriguez, Adam Lallana and Rickie Lambert's England call-ups can be harnessed for the betterment of high-flying Southampton.
Just three years on from plying their trade in the third tier, victory in Saturday's home clash with Hull would make this Saints' best-ever start to a top-flight season, trumping the 1983-84 campaign when they finished runners-up.
Such fine form saw Pochettino named manager of the month award for October and led three of his players to be called up for England's upcoming friendlies with Chile and Germany.
The inclusion of Rodriguez, Lallana and Lambert in Roy Hodgson's squad has shed even more light on the good work being done on the south coast and is praise Pochettino hopes to utilise effectively.
"We have to be intelligent in actually managing all of these plaudits for these three players that have been called up," the former Argentina international said.
"We need to be intelligent, we need to keep our feet on the ground, keep our expectations in check.
"We have to be able to take those compliments not in a negative way, but use them as a way to boost our confidence.
"So we are in the headlines now, we appreciate that, but that doesn't change anything.
"We have to keep on working as hard as we have been. Our main focus is to win against Hull. There is nothing else.
"From 10am on Friday until 5pm on Saturday when the game ends, our main focus is Hull. There is nothing else that is going to be on our minds.
"After that, the players can start thinking about their national teams and all of that.
"We have to think as a team now, think as a collective, then later on they can think individually about their own call-ups."
Guly do Prado will be out for two months after undergoing a knee operation but Dani Osvaldo could be available against Hull having struggled with a nerve issue down his side.
Hull forward Sone Aluko has torn his left Achilles tendon and will start a long road to recovery as his team-mates travel to Southampton.
Tigers manager Steve Bruce may also have to make do without top scorer Robbie Brady (hernia), while James Chester (hamstring) and goalkeeper Allan McGregor (hip/thigh) remain out.
Striker Danny Graham is back in contention after missing out against parent club Sunderland last weekend and defenders Abdoulaye Faye and Alex Bruce are back to fitness.
George Boyd believes Hull's impressive return to the Premier League is partly down to boss Bruce's willingness to involve his promotion-winning squad.
The Tigers are the best-placed side of the three who emerged from the second tier last season after 10 matches, sitting 10th with 14 points.
That is two more than the Cardiff side who finished above them in first place and 11 better than play-off winners Crystal Palace.
The rock-bottom Eagles had a mass overhaul of their playing staff in the summer and it has yet to pay dividends, while Bruce held on to the majority of the players who earned top-flight status.
Boyd does not shrink from the fact that Bruce increased competition for starting berths by signing the likes of Tom Huddlestone, Jake Livermore, Maynor Figueroa and Curtis Davies, but credits him with keeping every member of the squad within touching distance.
The 28-year-old midfielder had to wait until the trip to Tottenham on October 27 for his first league start of the campaign but retained his place for last weekend's win over Sunderland.
"You do find that in the Premier League they (managers) do forget about the people who got them up and bring loads of new players in," he said.
"But the gaffer has done well to keep everyone happy and everyone has got their opportunity to play their part and prove they can play at this level so far.
"It was frustrating not playing at the start of the season, but the boys were doing really well and the gaffer has done really well with that, saying to us 'be patient, you'll get your chance and when you do, take it'.
"That's his man-management skills to a tee. We've got a really tight-knit group and to keep everyone feeling involved even when they're not on the pitch has been brilliant.
"A few of us who have been patient have got our chance lately and taken it with both hands.
"Obviously you're not used to it when you've come from the lower leagues and you're used to playing every week like I did at Peterborough and when I came to Hull.
"But the top clubs in this division are the same, they use their squads and a few of us have got to get used to not playing every single week."
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