Kamis, 24 Januari 2013

Lallana relishing Pochettino era

Adam Lallana: Looking forward to playing under Mauricio Pochettino

Lallana is closing in on a return to action following a six-week knee injury layoff.

Much has changed since the Saints skipper suffered the injury against Reading last month.

The club have moved out of the Barclays Premier League relegation zone and they also have a new manager in Pochettino, who was installed following the shock dismissal of Nigel Adkins last week.

Lallana, speaking in Barcelona where Southampton are enjoying a warm-weather training camp, watched his team-mates batter Everton before emerging with a point on Monday in Pochettino's first game in charge and he is sure the future is bright for the club under the former Espanyol boss.

"You saw what style of football he wants us to play on Monday night - the lads came flying out of the traps and were pressing hard," the 24-year-old told Southampton's website.

"It's going to be different, but it's going to be good.

"The lads have done absolutely brilliantly over th e Christmas period, and the game on Monday was outstanding - the first half was probably the best I've seen all season from the stands.

"I'm so eager to get back playing, especially under the new boss. There's a team of four who have come in, and the gaffer is starting to get his messages across.

"We've come here for four days so he'll start to tactically put his imprint on how he wants us to play."

Having adapted easily to the rigours of top-flight football in the first half of the season, Lallana was disappointed to be sidelined for so long.

He is now desperate go get back in the fold and make an impression on his new manager, who reportedly wants to strengthen his midfield ranks by signing Inter Milan's Coutinho.

"With this being my first session back, it was nice to be with the lads again and trying to impress the new manager," Lallana said.

"Getting injured was obviously frustrating. I feared the worst when I it first happened, so I was lucky that I've only been out for weeks rather than months.

"I've just been professional about it - got stronger and worked harder so I hopefully come back a fitter and better player.

"I felt a little bit rusty but it's my first day back after being out for six or seven weeks.

"It'll take me a few training sessions but hopefully I haven't lost too much fitness because I've been doing quite a lot of running."

Southampton, who do not have a game this weekend as they are out of the FA Cup, are now four points clear of the relegation zone following a run of one defeat in eight matches.

While most Saints fans are just concentrating on their team's prospects of staying in the division, after their visit to the Nou Camp yesterday, Lallana is already dreaming of reaching bigger heights with the south-coast club.

"One day I want to be playing there," Lallana said after the visit to Barcelona's famous stadium.

"You've got to se t your sights high because you never know where the club could be in five years.

"We've come so far in a short space of time, and if we continue at the speed we've been going then you never know.

"It's been a nice first day. Visiting the Nou Camp was quite surreal, and the facilities at the training ground were great."

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