Southampton 'are attracted to the Champions League' says Mauricio Pochettino

The Saints manager has loftier ambitions than the Europa League

Mauricio Pochettino has dismissed the idea of taking Southampton in to the Europa League - because the Saints manager has even bigger ambitions.

Southampton were among the favourites for relegation last term, but they stayed up with ease and they currently lie in sixth position this term after taking 11 points from their opening six matches.

There is a bullish confidence inside the Southampton camp, and some are predicting that the south-coast club even could challenge for European qualification this season.

Sunday's visitors Swansea defied the odds to qualify for the Europa League last season, and they have already provided their fans with a memorable 3-0 away win over Valencia in the competition.

Pochettino played in the Europa League for four seasons as a player, but he never got a crack at the big time and he now wants to do that as a coach.

"To be honest I am not keen on the Europa League," the Southampton manager told a press conference.

"I think we are all attracted to the Champions League.

"The Europa League is a competition that I don't look forward to because (if you are in it) it kind of means that you haven't been good enough to actually make it in to the Champions League so I think all managers are aiming one step of competing in the Champions League, so it's not a competition that is attractive to me.

"It is something I have always looked forward to competing in."

Pochettino has refused to start contemplating an assault on the Champions League this term, despite the team's impressive start.

"We're only concentrating on the next match," he said, diplomatically.

But that does not mean he has a problem with his goalkeeper Artur Boruc, who believes Southampton are capable of becoming a Champions League side.

"I like that our players are ambitious," the former Espanyol, Paris Saint-Germain and Bordeaux defender said.

"This is what makes them work even harder to achieve those things. "That also requires you to be work hard in every game and every training session.

"In order to be successful and ambitious and to win big things, that also forces you to be self-demanding so I am happy that they think that way."

Pochettino may have brought flair and dynamism to Southampton, but like his predecessor Nigel Adkins, he is also reliant on a good core of English players.

Rickie Lambert was key to Southampton's survival push last season, scoring 15 goals to make him the joint-top English scorer in the Barclays Premier League.

The 31-year-old has scored twice for Saints this term and he has been rewarded with three England call-ups, the most recent one being for next week's crunch double-header against Montenegro and Poland.

Pochettino was delighted to hear of another call-up for his star striker, who scored a stunning free-kick in the 2-0 win over Crystal Palace last weekend.

"Ricky has worked hard in the last few weeks," Pochettino said.

"His fitness is great, and the fact that he has been called up to the national side again is good news for him and Southampton."

Pochettino has a slight concern over left-back Luke Shaw for the Swansea's visit.

"Luke Shaw was ill during the week, but he has recovered now and we will see (on Saturday) if he is fit for the game," the 41-year-old said.


Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London