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Southampton V Stoke at St. Mary's Stadium : Match Preview

18 May 2013 14:01:23

Southampton V Stoke at St. Mary's Stadium : Match Preview

Southampton V Stoke - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.


Pochettino hoping for Owen revenge

Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino believes Michael Owen is one of England's greatest ever players but hopes to ruin his farewell match after falling foul of the Stoke striker at the 2002 World Cup.

The 33-year-old former England striker admitted last year that he was "guilty" of going down when he could have stayed on his feet for both of his penalties against Argentina at the 1998 and 2002 World Cups.

The South Americans had the last laugh in the first tournament but in Japan the act allowed David Beckham to score the only goal.

Pochettino was the man whose leg Owen tumbled over in Sapporo and has the chance to exact revenge in the striker's last match before he retires.

"For me, he has been one of the greatest England footballers and I was unlucky to suffer his skill," the Saints boss said with a smile.

"It will be a great pleasure for me to say 'Hi' to him and meet him as well. Hopefully we can argue about that controversial play that happened in Japan way back.

"Perhaps in the tunnel going into the dressing room I will trip him up. Destiny will be very cruel if [he was to score the winner] and I don't think that I deserve that to happen to me."

Rickie Lambert (back) and Luke Shaw (virus) are doubts for Southampton.

Steve de Ridder and Vegard Forren are also struggling while Gaston Ramirez and Danny Fox are suspended.

Stoke manager Tony Pulis heads into the summer break with a reminder to his critics of the legacy he has created at the club.

Pulis has endured a rough ride these past few months before Stoke's Barclays Premier League status for a sixth successive season was assured on Tuesday as Wigan's defeat at Arsenal condemned the Latics to the final relegation place.

For the players, aside from the prospect of finishing in the top 10 for the first time since their promotion in 2008, the pressure is off going into the final game.

For Pulis, doubts still remain as to his future which is likely to be discussed next week with chairman Peter Coates, with the Welshman using such phrases as "I hope to be here" and "I want to be here" when it comes to extending his tenure.

So with Stoke safe, Pulis has decided now is the time to refresh the short-term memories of those who appear to have forgotten the state of the club when he first arrived.

Initially, that was in 2002 for a three-year spell before taking up the reins again in 2006 after a season at Plymouth and upon Coates taking over as owner.

"Six years ago this club was promoted. If we hadn't obtained Premier League football then we wouldn't have all of this," said Pulis, referring to the overall infrastructure these days at Stoke.

"Getting there and staying there has been the greatest achievement at this football club. It has given us the opportunity to build a club now unrecognisable in every way shape and form in respect of what I left and what I came back to. So we've a little bit of a legacy at this place that started when we walked back through the door seven years ago.

"I can remember us reporting at the stadium, getting changed in the dressing rooms and then coming down here (Clayton Woods training ground) and training, and there were four cars in the car park and a few dogs running around.

"You go down to the car park now and you've a thousand cars down there. It has changed and grown from top to bottom. The football club is a completely different organisation compared to what it was seven or eight years ago."

Stoke midfielder Charlie Adam sits out through suspension while Glenn Whelan (groin) and Brek Shea (calf) are doubts.


PA

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