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.

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones