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Southampton V West Ham at St. Mary's Stadium : Match Preview
Southampton V West Ham - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.
Pochettino prepared for tough clash
Mauricio Pochettino wants Southampton to stick to their own philosophy rather than be drawn into a physical duel with West Ham on Sunday.
Much has been made of the free-flowing, pressing football introduced by the Argentinian after his arrival in January.
That tactic was effective towards the end of last season but has not quite worked so well this Barclays Premier League campaign, with only one league win to their name so far.
Saints' next opponents are West Ham and Pochettino knows exactly what they are coming up against this Sunday.
"From the three games we have seen, we can tell they are a physically strong team," said Pochettino, whose only injury concern is left-back Danny Fox (ankle).
"They play a very simple but very direct type of football. It is very effective for them.
"They have very good players and play in a very determined or particular way.
"That suits them so we need to prepare to suffer in certain moments of the game against them.
"But, like I always say, what we will always try to do is impose the way that we play and try to match them strength for strength."
Against such a direct team, Pochettino could be forgiven for being relieved to avoid coming up against imposing frontman Andy Carroll.
The England international has not played since completing a club-record summer move to the Upton Park club, with a foot injury this week the latest blow.
Pochettino, though, would rather be facing a West Ham side including Carroll.
"There are other players as well that bring that strength to their side," he said.
"As a manager, I am never happy when an opposing player is not able to play, when he is suffering on the sidelines.
"It is never good to see that. You always want to see the best players playing and I hope he recovers very well, very soon."
West Ham manager Sam Allardyce maintains he will always look to play to the strengths of his team, no matter who is leading the line.
The Irons head to Southampton without Carroll once again, and will be for some time as the 24-year-old aims to recover from a foot injury suffered just as he was set for a return after an Achilles problem.
Allardyce brought in veteran Croatian international Mladen Petric as cover ahead of the transfer deadline, but he is not yet match fit, meaning Mali frontman Modibo Maiga and captain Kevin Nolan are set to provide the main attacking outlets at St Mary's Stadium, where West Ham will aim to recover from the disappointing home loss to Stoke before the international break.
"We play according to the strengths of the team. We generally play a different way every game to be honest," Allardyce said.
"My life is always about studying the opposition and asking the team to maybe play the same system, but in a different way to nullify the opposition's strengths and expose their weaknesses.
"There are always subtle differences that I ask the players to remember and think about in order to try and achieve the top goal, which is the victory and three points."
Allardyce was keen to use the international break positively, and took those players not involved for their countries away for short training camp in Spain to maintain focus levels.
"The team went out and had a very good game in Espanyol on Thursday, that went okay, to give some players a good first-team competitive edge. I think the squad, in terms of where we are at the moment, is looking fit and raring to go," added the Irons boss, who revealed midfielders Joe Cole and Stewart Downing remain sidelined this weekend.
West Ham will come up against man-of-the-moment Rickie Lambert on Sunday, the Saints striker have grabbed his England chance following Carroll's unfortunate injury setback.
"He has been very, very good," Allardyce said. "It has been a major help for (England manager) Roy (Hodgson) and the injury problems he has had.
"Rickie stepping in and doing a great job has been greatly received by everyone. It is great for him, great for his club and also great for England. It has got him a very critical point at a place that is very difficult to play in."
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