Sabtu, 09 Februari 2013

Pochettino praise for Zabaleta

Pablo Zabaleta: Impressive season for City

The reigning Premier League champions have endured a frustrating season and sit nine points shy of Manchester United.

Zabaleta has been one of City's shining lights and his performances have caught the eye of many, including Pochettino.

The Argentinian pair played together at Spanish side Espanyol and the Saints boss is proud of his old friend.

"I know him because we shared the same dressing room," Pochettino said. "The problem won't be just playing against him, but the fact he has 10 colleagues with him.

"That said, he arrived in Spain when he was very young and has been maturing. He is at a high point now with Manchester City.

"He is the same now as he was then. He has not changed. He has a great mentality, a winning mentality, aggressive - the typical sort of player in the Premier League."

Zabaleta's contribution seems to be getting recognition at last - something Pochettino, himself a former defender, is pleased to see.

"Teams need players with different characteristics but what people notice most is the goals," he said. "That is what is prized most.

"But the trainers, the manager, attach a lot of value to players that provide the ball to be scored.

"I think he is amongst the top 10 players in his position in the world.

"That is demonstrated by the fact his place in one of the best teams around in Manchester City and the Argentinian national team."

Pochettino may be looking forward to seeing Zabaleta tonight but he is hoping to disappoint him at St Mary's, with Southampton looking for a first win since his arrival.

"I want to point out the great willingness they've all shown and also how willing they've been to accept the new management, the new philosophy," said Pochettino, who has so far overseen two draws and a win.

"I don't like to compare but we've seen the team which is in a very good line of play at the moment.

"We've deserved be tter reward from teams we've played up until now."

Saints star targets top four

Rickie Lambert: Striker is confident the club will stay in the top flight

The club have not won any of their three matches since the Argentinian replaced Nigel Adkins, who was sacked last month.

However, the former Bristol Rovers and Rochdale hitman is confident Saints will stay up and has backed chairman Nicola Cortese to provide the funds for the new man in the summer to help the club challenge the big boys.

The 30-year-old told The Sun: "The new manager has been great and you can see since he has come to the club he wants to make things happen.

"The chairman is very ambitious and Southampton is going to be a very exciting place to be over the next few years.

"It is not unrealistic to try and challenge for the top four over the next three years. That is what we have to aim for.

"Three years ago a lot of people would have laughed in our faces if we had said we'd be in the Premier League.

"We have got to keep that momentum going and keep moving forward. I am very confident we will stay up."

Lambert is also hopeful of joining club legends Mick Channon and Matt Le Tissier by scoring 100 goals for the club and he is aiming to do it against Manchester City.

The striker, who has bagged 11 goals this season making him the highest-scoring Englishman in the Premier League, said: "Scoring my 100th goal against a world-class team like City would be special but only if we get a good result.

"I try not to think about the record too much because the most important thing is the team get three points to move away from relegation danger."

Jumat, 08 Februari 2013

Premier League: Southampton v Man City preview

Luke Shaw: Injury concern for Southampton

Southampton left-back Luke Shaw is a doubt for Saturday's clash with reigning Premier League champions Manchester City.

The 17-year-old picked up a ligament issue ahead of his England Under-21s debut against Sweden in midweek, while fellow full-back Nathaniel Clyne, another to drop out of the Young Lions' squad, may also be unavailable.

Gaston Ramirez and Guly do Prado are also possibly out, while Jose Fonte is sidelined.

Adam Lallana could make his first start since suffering a knee injury on December 8 and January acquisition Vegard Forren could make his debut.

City could be boosted by the return of captain Vincent Kompany after recovering from a calf injury.

Kompany returned to training on Wednesday and Roberto Mancini will make a decision on his fitness after training on Friday.

City are also boosted by the return of Yaya and Kolo Toure after returning from international duty at the Africa Cup of Nations with Ivory Coast.

Mancini must decide who to start with up front after leaving Carlos Tevez on the bench against Liverpool with Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko getting the nod in attack.

Lallana impatient to get back

Adam Lallana: Eyeing a first start since December

Saints have not won any of their three matches since the Argentinian replaced Nigel Adkins at the helm and face the unenviable task of looking for a first victory against Manchester City.

It is a match in which Lallana could make his first start since December 8, having suffered a knee injury in the 1-0 defeat of Reading at St Mary's.

That was Southampton's last home victory and Lallana is hoping to make up for lost time against the reigning champions.

"I have been itching to get back now the whole time," he said.

"I've been there or thereabouts the last three or four weeks and I've made a couple appearances off the bench.

"I am fully fit and eagerly hoping to get some time from the start, whether I do, we will find out on Saturday.

"I was injured when Alan Pardew left the club and Adkins came in so I've experienced similar to this.

"It was frustrating because you want to get out there and prove to him your worth, real ly.

"He has been great and the language barrier is not an issue. You communicate fine and his assistant Jesus Perez, Miguel D'Agostino and goalkeeping coach Toni Jimenez can all speak English well.

"It is great and I am so far thoroughly enjoying my time under the gaffer."

Lallana believes Pochettino has already "put his footprint" on the team in the few weeks he has been in charge.

Despite having not yet secured a first win in English football, the former Espanyol manager's team have attracted plaudits from fans and pundits alike.

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson even said Saints were the best team to have visited Old Trafford this season but Pochettino's side lost on the night - something Lallana knows cannot continue.

"We approach the Man City game how we have approached our previous three games under him," the left winger said.

"There have been some positive performances, we just want to turn them into points be cause that is the only way we're going to get up the table.

"If they've not got Pablo Zabaleta at right-back, they've got Micah Richards or name after name.

"They have top quality international players in their team but those kind of players that you relish.

"If I am up against Zabaleta, that's that. I will have to deal with and look forward to it."

There was an air of positivity around St Mary's yesterday, where Lallana was helping Southampton launch their new official timekeeper partnership with Eterna.

The winger was joined at the ground by frontman Rickie Lambert, who was overlooked by Roy Hodgson for the friendly against Brazil despite being this season's top English league scorer.

"I was surprised," Lallana, part of the squad that faced Ukraine in September, said of the omission.

"We were chatting in the changing rooms, especially after Jermain Defoe and Daniel Sturridge picked up knocks.

"He has got 11 Premier Le ague goals, the highest by an Englishman in the league, so the stats are there.

"He has been absolutely outstanding for us and as long as we have got him fit and healthy, ready for us, that is all I am worried about and probably the Saints fans too.

"He does deserve it and how far he has come as well in a short space of time is quite unbelievable."

Lallana and Lambert are both among Southampton's longest-serving players, along with Kelvin Davis and Jose Fonte.

All four have been highlighted as leaders by Pochettino and Lallana admits he is unclear as to whether he will remain captain under the new manager.

"I am not sure," he said. "I am just eagerly looking forward to coming back.

"I am only 24 and that is not a massive issue. If I am, then great. If not, I will still give 100 per cent for the team."

Prem clubs agree new controls

The 20 club chairmen voted by 13 to six - with one abstention - to implement two significant controls - to limit players' wage bills from next season, and longer-term measures that will restrict the amount of losses clubs can make to 105million over three years.

Clubs whose total wage bill is more than 52million will only be allowed to increase their wages by 4million per season for the next three years, though that cap does not cover extra money coming in from increases in commercial or matchday income.

The effect of the financial controls should prevent hugely wealthy owners achieving the almost-overnight success of Chelsea and Manchester City.

Any club breaching the rules will face tough sanctions - and Premier League chief executive Scudamore said they would be pushing for points deductions.

Scudamore told reporters: "As all things in our rulebook you will subject to a disciplinary commission.

"The clubs understand that if people b reak the 105m we will looking for the top-end ultimate sanction range - points deduction.

"Normally we stay silent on sanctions as the commission has a free range, but clearly if there is a material breach of that rule we will be asking the commission to consider top-end sanctions."

It emerged tonight, however, that the vote for the financial regulations could hardly have been closer - only 13 of the 20 clubs voted in favour, six against with Reading abstaining. It meant that the 'yes' vote only narrowly achieved the necessary two-thirds majority of the 19 votes cast.

Clubs sources say Fulham, West Brom, Manchester City, Aston Villa, Swansea and Southampton all voted against. Chelsea, who had initially been viewed as opponents of financial fair play regulations, voted in favour.

Of the 20 clubs in the top flight, only Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool have reported losses of more than 105million over the last three years, according to the mos t up-to-date published accounts.

Scudamore said there would be an "absolute prohibition" on clubs reporting losses of more than 105million over the next three years with the first sanctions possible in 2016. He said that the measures would mean it will take longer for benefactor owners to achieve success - but that it would still be possible.

He said: "The balance we have tried to strike is that a new owner can still invest a decent amount of money to improve their club but they are not going to be throwing hundreds and hundreds of millions in a very short period of time.

"While it has worked for a couple of clubs in the last 10 years, and I am not critical of that, if that's going to be done in the future it's going to have to be over a slightly longer term without the huge losses being made.

"I think at 105million you can still build a very decent club with substantial owner funding but you have to do it over time, you can't do it in a season."< /p>

Chelsea won the Premier League two years after Roman Abramovich's takeover, and Manchester City's title success came three years after Sheikh Mansour's takeover.

Any club making any loss of over 5million a year will have to guarantee those losses against the owner's assets.

"In some ways that's the most significant part, this is a three-year rolling system of secure funding - it's one year at the moment," Scudamore added.

The ceiling when the wage increase restrictions kick in will be 52million next season, 56million the following year and 60million i 2015/16. Only seven of the current top-flight clubs would be under that ceiling at the moment.

The Premier League's legal advisers will now work on the detailed proposals and these will be brought back before the chairmen in April to be ratified.

In a statement, Chelsea said they are supportive of moves that promote financial stability.

The statement said: "Premier League clubs t oday reached an agreement to introduce financial stability rules and wage controls for the league. Chelsea Football Club is supportive of moves that promote financial stability in football. We are already subject to UEFA's financial fair play principles and will comply with those.

"The new rules will be subject to further detailed discussions before they are brought in and we will play our part in those to ensure implementation is fair for all clubs in the league."

West Ham's co-owner David Gold said the proposals would prevent Portsmouth's descent in administration happening again.

He said: "It's not a salary cap - it's a restraint on over-spending. If clubs increase their revenues then they can increase their spending.

"We have got restraint - that's the important thing. What's driving the whole thing is we've got to avoid another Portsmouth."

Kamis, 07 Februari 2013

Pochettino relieved by omissions

Mauricio Pochettino: Has lost Luke Shaw to injury

Lambert has shone on his first season as a Premier League player, netting 11 goals in 25 matches.

The 30-year-old's haul is the highest by an English player and led one bookmaker to offers odds of 3/1 on him receiving a first call-up for Wednesday night's match against Brazil.

In the end, England boss Roy Hodgson overlooked the striker, something Pochettino was relieved about after left-back Luke Shaw picked up a knock on England Under-21 duty.

"For me, they are all worthy of playing for their national teams," Pochettino said of his new charges.

"[But] it would be better for Southampton that they are not with their national teams after what happened to Luke Shaw.

"It's natural they should have enthusiasm to play for national team, but they have to be calm and everything comes bit by bit over time."

Shaw picked up a ligament issue ahead of his Young Lions debut against Sweden and is a doubt for Saturday's late kick-off against Manchester City.

Fellow full-back Nathaniel Clyne, another that dropped out of the Under-21 squad, may also be unavailable, with Gaston Ramirez and Guly do Prado also possibly out.

"We have several players recovering from situations that have happened to them over the last couple of games," said Pochettino, who will almost certainly be without centre-back Jose Fonte.

"I can't confirm at the present time whether they will be ready for Saturday or not.

"I hope they will be available for the game. Luke Shaw has come back with a problem after his time with the England Under-21s team.

"We don't know if Adam Lallana will be ready right from the start. He is recovering from injury so we don't know yet."

Should the winger make his first start since December 8, it would be a huge big boost to Pochettino, who has yet to secure his first win since replacing Nigel Adkins at the St Mary's helm.

The Argentinian knows it will be tough to se cure his first three points against City, highlighting David Silva, Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero as the key threats.

"It's obvious that those two players plus Silva are great players," Pochettino said.

"We know that we have to stop the players getting balls to these three players.

"We know any of these three can decide the match at any time so we have to stop the ball getting to them."

Premier League clubs to compromise

The terms of the deal will allow owners to cover up to 105million losses over three years.

The Premier League system would be less hard-hitting than UEFA's, which comes into force next season and limits owners to covering 39million losses over a three-year period.

A cap on wage increases is also expected to get the go-ahead at the meeting of the 20 clubs.

Significantly, Chelsea are set to back both a compromise FFP system and a salary cap - the Roman Abramovich-owned club had been viewed in some quarters as opposed to any spending controls.

Insiders at Stamford Bridge insist they have never been opposed to a compromise agreement, and that position should now ensure that both spending control systems are agreed.

Arsenal, Manchester United, Tottenham and Liverpool have been pushing for an FFP system where wealthy owners are not be allowed to underwrite any losses, but that stance looks set to be defeated.

The wage increase cap may also be watered down however - initially Sunderland owner Ellis Short had suggested a maximum 10% increase allowed for player wages. It now looks likely that the cap will only affect those clubs whose total bill is higher than 52million so promoted sides are not prevented from improving their squads.

Furthermore, spending money earned from clubs' individual commercial deals on wages will not be restricted. That can be significant - in Manchester United's case commercial income totalled 117.6million last year and their wage bill 160million.

But some form of wage increase cap will satisfy club owners who are fearful of the bulk of the income from next season's bumper new television rights deals - expected to be worth 25million-30million per club - going straight into the pockets of the players and agents.

Arsenal, Manchester United, Tottenham and Liverpool - styled as the 'gang of four' after they sent a joint letter to the last shareholders meeting calli ng for owners not be allowed to cover any losses at all - argue that tough FFP measures will maintain the Premier League's competitiveness and its attraction to a global TV audience, rather than risk a situation developing such as in Spain where only two clubs dominate the football landscape.

Other clubs believe the four are acting out of self-interest and want to maintain a status quo where smaller clubs can never break into the top ranks, even with a benefactor owner.

Rabu, 06 Februari 2013

Saints cancel Le Tissier talks

Nicola Cortese: Cancelled clear-the-air talks with Matthew Le Tissier

Le Tissier, who was critical of Southampton executive chairman Cortese's decision to sack manager Nigel Adkins and replace him with former Espanyol boss Mauricio Pochettino, had called for a meeting with Cortese.

Le Tissier later revealed talks had been scheduled for four weeks' time, but Southampton have on Wednesday said that those discussions are now off.

"A meeting was organised between Nicola Cortese, the club's executive chairman, and Matthew Le Tissier in what the club believed was good faith," a club spokesman said.

"Both parties had agreed that it would be a private meeting with no publicity surrounding it, yet within 24 hours this matter was put in the public domain and further negative comments attributed to Mr Le Tissier have appeared this morning.

"As an ex-player, Mr Le Tissier's achievements are well known.

"However, his repeated criticisms over a prolonged period of time are not justified and have not merited any res ponse from the club. Nor has the motive for these personal attacks ever been made entirely clear.

"Mr Cortese wishes to reiterate that he will not make comment about somebody he does not know personally - and that includes Mr Le Tissier.

"These criticisms have not affected the club's success and progress on or off the pitch in recent years and will not divert the club from its course in the future.

"For Mr Le Tissier to agree to meet 'in good faith' and then make such comments can only be seen as a breach of good faith and certainly not in the best interests of the club.

"Mr Le Tissier also refers to his friend Francis Benali having the best interests of the club at heart, while neglecting to mention that the same person is currently suing Southampton Football Club in relation to a lease dispute and lost ambassadorial fees.

"It is a legal action the club will be defending rigorously in the best interests of the club and its reputation.

"In all the circumstances and in light of the comments attributed to Mr Le Tissier, the club believes that it is now not possible for the above mentioned meeting to take place in good faith.

"We would nevertheless encourage Mr Le Tissier to join with our fans and continue to enjoy the success the club has achieved over the last three and a half years.

"The club now considers this matter closed and will not be making any further comment about it."

Le Tissier said on Wednesday afternoon that the meeting's cancellation "doesn't surprise" him and wrote on Twitter: "Meeting with our wonderful exec chairman been cancelled surprisesurprise somethingtohidenicola."

Benali was unavailable for comment.

Cortese played an integral role in the now-deceased Markus Liebherr's takeover of the debt-ridden south coast club three years ago - a time in which Le Tissier was part of a rival bid by Pinnacle Group.

In October the Saints legend described C ortese as "not a very nice human being", with the Italian later claiming they had never met.

Selasa, 05 Februari 2013

Southampton goalkeeper Artur Boruc keen to justify Poland recall

Artur Boruc: Earned recall for Poland

The 33-year-old was kicked out of the national team by previous Poland head coach Franciszek Smuda for his behaviour on the plane back from a US tour.

And his career at Southampton began in controversy when the keeper was alleged to have thrown a water bottle into the crowd on his home debut against Tottenham at St Mary's.

But ahead of Poland's friendly against the Republic of Ireland in Dublin on Wednesday, Boruc claims he has 'grown up' and has high hopes for the future as Saints No.1.

"I've matured over the last few months," he told Polish news organisation Sport. "I was determined to get back in Southampton's goal.

"I lost my place. The Tottenham game ruined my plans but that was only a one-off incident.

"I hope I've earned my call-up. I've been told I have a clean slate from the new coach.

"I've grow up and matured. I always wanted to play in the Premier League, though I hoped to make it here earlier.

"Goa lkeepers are usually better with age so there is still some time ahead of me."

Senin, 04 Februari 2013

Rickie Lambert upset at being overlooked for England squad again

Rickie Lambert: Not giving up on England hopes

Lambert has adjusted to Premier League football superbly after spending most of his career in the lower leagues and his 11 goals make him the joint-leading English scorer in the division with Arsenal's Theo Walcott.

The 30-year-old revealed he has not been contacted by any of the England staff despite his form, which continued with a goal at Wigan on Saturday, and he said: "I was disappointed (not to be in the squad).

"I'm not saying I was expecting it but I was hoping, and it wasn't to be. But hopefully I can show until the end of the season that I am good enough, not just that I deserve a chance but that I am good enough.

"If it comes, it comes and if it doesn't, it doesn't. I'm just going to try to help Southampton, try to score goals and push Southampton up the league table.

"I'm not going to focus on the England squad too much but I am hoping I can get a chance.

"I don't think my age is a hindrance. I've just got to try to prov e to them that I'm good enough. I've got quite a lot of games left to do that."

Minggu, 03 Februari 2013

Late equaliser frustrates Lambert

Shaun Maloney: Celebrates his late equaliser for Wigan

Captain Gary Caldwell had given the hosts a first-half lead at the DW Stadium but Lambert equalised in the 64th minute and it looked like being a deserved three points for Southampton when Morgan Schneiderlin put them ahead five minutes from time.

However, Wigan roused themselves for one final effort and secured a 2-2 draw when Maloney popped up in the 90th minute to prod the ball home from a corner.

The result left Saints manager Mauricio Pochettino still looking for his first win after three games despite his side being in the ascendancy for large parts of all of them.

Lambert said: "I'm frustrated about conceding in the last minute, it was a very bad goal to give away.

"Obviously when the dust settles and you have time to think about it then we're going to think of it being a good point, but right now it doesn't feel like that, it's a bitter pill to swallow. We should have had three points.

"I thought the performance was brillian t. Throughout the 90 minutes we pressed them, we harried them and we put them under a lot of pressure, and they're a really good football team.

"Last time we played them we got taught a lesson but I thought this time around we showed them how much we've improved and we deserved the three points.

"I thought we deserved a point at Old Trafford and three points here so it's not nice, but when we sit and think about it we'll take positives out of the performances.

"We've been good of late at not conceding many goals. The last two games we've conceded two and these were poor goals, both of them. We need to get back on the training pitch and do better next week."

Saints had a shaky start to life in the Premier League and lost 2-0 at home to Wigan in August. They won only one of their first 11 games and November's clash with QPR was billed as a key match in the relegation battle.

Saints won 3-1 that day and have lost only two matches since. Nigel Adkins was harshly sacked on the back of a draw with Chelsea but the momentum has continued under Pochettino.

Had the visitors picked up three points they would have been six clear of the relegation zone, but a point still leaves them three points ahead of Wigan and Aston Villa.

The Latics again find themselves scrapping to avoid relegation having won only one of their last 12 games and were far from their fluent best on Saturday.

Manager Roberto Martinez wants both players and fans to leave the anxiety at home for their remaining games, but believes they can be encouraged by the manner in which they fought back.

He said: "I think we allowed Southampton's pressure to be very effective. I don't think we were quick enough with our short passing and we couldn't get away from that first line of pressure that Southampton had. All of a sudden they were a real threat.

"In any sport, when you go into a game where there's huge expectation it becomes a lot harder. That was quite evident.

"I've never seen our crowd as frustrated and as worried as they were. We all need to learn that we've got six games left at home, every single game is an opportunity to get points and we need to enjoy the challenge and be as good as we can be.

"The character we showed to get back on level terms is exactly what we need in this final third of the season."

Sabtu, 02 Februari 2013

Jonathan Forte returns to first club Sheffield United in loan deal

Jonathan Forte: Returning to Sheffield

Sheffield-born Forte has been out of favour at Southampton this season and will return to his first club where he will join fellow new-boys Danny Higginbotham and Jamie Murphy, who signed earlier in the month.

Boss Danny Wilson told the club's website: "People will be familiar with Jonathan's talents and we are delighted that he has accepted our offer to come and play.

"His goalscoring record is very good and hopefully he can improve that back in Sheffield with us - he is undoubtedly a player with great potential."

The 26-year-old came through the Blades Academy and made his debut in an FA Cup tie in 2004. He played 39 times for the first team before moving to Scunthorpe where he really made his name.

He followed boss Nigel Adkins to Southampton in January 2011 and in a frustrating two-years he was farmed out on loan to Notts County, Preston North End and Crawley Town.

Sheffield United have also completed the signing of Scotland int ernational midfielder Barry Robson on a deal until the end of the season.

The 34-year-old was a free agent after his contract with the Vancouver Whitecaps was cancelled earlier this month by mutual consent.

Robson has played 17 times for Scotland and started his career with Inverness before moving on to Dundee United, Celtic and Middlesbrough.

Wilson said: "When someone of his experience and quality comes along you have to sit up and take notice and I'm delighted a deal can be completed, especially given the fact that he has been back in the country less than a week.

"He gives us options in offensive positions, he will score goals and be a supply line for others."

Reeves makes Roots Hall move

Ben Reeves: Could make debut against Oxford

The 21-year-old will remain at Roots Hall until the end of February and could make his debut in the weekend's clash with Oxford.

The midfielder has made six appearances for the Saints this season and scored in the Capital One Cup victory over Stevenage in August.

His last appearance came as a late substitute in the 1-1 draw with Norwich in November.

Shrimpers boss Paul Sturrock told the club's official website: "We're delighted to have signed Ben. He's someone we identified as a player we feel can help us push for promotion.

"He has played in the Premier League this season so it just shows how highly the young lad is rated. He will offer us something different.

"He's here initially for 28 days and we will see how things progress during that time."

Wigan drew 2-2 with Southampton at the DW Stadium

Shaun Maloney: Broke Saints' hearts late on

A Gary Caldwell header gave the home side a first half lead against the run of play, but the Saints deservedly equalised when Rickie Lambert headed home from close range.

Southampton dominated for the majority of the match, and they took a deserved lead five minutes from time after Morgan Schneiderlin swept home following a fine run from Jay Rodriguez. However, it was heartbreak for the Saints as Shaun Maloney finished after a Paul Scharner knockdown from a corner.

Wigan chose to hand a debut to Scharner upon his return from Hamburg, whilst Adam Lallana was not deemed fit enough to start after his return from injury in midweek off the bench. Luke Shaw returned to the side in place of Danny Fox.

This was Southampton's first ever trip to Wigan, and they started off the brighter of the two sides, immediately getting onto the front foot and looking to control possession in midfield. However, they could not find the final ball to create a clea r-cut chance, and Artur Boruc was the goalkeeper forced into the first save, diving down low to keep out a Franco Di Santo shot.

Three minutes later, Southampton striker Lambert's shot found Gaston Ramirez in acres of space and onside. The Uruguayan could have taken a touch but chose to volley, and the ball flew well over.

Wigan took the lead against the run of play on 25 minutes when Jean Beausejour's corner was met by captain Caldwell, who guided a fine header into the bottom left corner.

Southampton almost responded in bizarre fashion, a James McCarthy clearance rebounding off Schneiderlin and forcing Ali Al-Habsi into a sprawling stop to claw the ball behind, while Jos Hooiveld headed just wide from a corner.

Southampton began the second half as they did the first and, in a spell of ten minutes, Hooiveld was just unable to get a firm enough header and Jay Rodriguez missed his kick in front of goal.

On 64 minutes, Southampton got what they deserved. A cross from the right-hand side came to the back post, and Lambert was brave enough to put in a header despite the close presence from Al-Habsi.

If that goal should have woken up Wigan, it simply spurred on Southampton, and five minutes later substitute Lallana struck a post following a corner, and Lambert then volleyed just wide as Wigan desperately tried to weather the storm. The away side finally took a deserved lead with a wonderful team move as the impressive Shaw sent Rodriguez down the left and the forward pulled the ball back for Schneiderlin to sweep home.

But, with two minutes remaining, Saints' hearts were broken. Wigan won a late corner and Scharner knocked the ball down to Maloney, who finished from a tight angle.

Morgan Schneiderlin disappointed with Southampton draw against Wigan

Morgan Schneiderlin: Ended a flowing move to give Southampton lead

Southampton dominated for large periods and turned the game around to take the lead after 86 minutes, Schneiderlin himself finishing off a fluid counter attacking move.

However, just three minutes later Shaun Maloney equalised for Wigan to rescue an undeserved point for the home side.

"We should have had the three points. We came here with the intention to win the game and did everything we could to do so," Schneiderlin said.

"We are disappointed that we have conceded two goals from corners, because from open play you couldn't see how they could score.

"In the last minute to concede a goal like that is disappointing.

"Still, we keep them three points behind us and we are going to try to make that a bigger gap over the next few games."

Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino disappointed with draw against Wigan

Mauricio Pochettino: Southampton manager sad for players

Saints fell behind during the first half but controlled the game for large periods as they turned the match on its head during the second half.

Pochettino admitted that, although he was happy with the performance, there was also disappointment that he could not gain his first win in charge.

"There are two different feelings," Pochettino told Saints Player.

"First because we played well, and secondly, because we could and should have won the game, so we are disappointed with the result.

"I am happy with the performance of the team, and although I am disappointed with the result, we played well today, so I am happy with that.

"You can never count on winning. You always have to wait until the end of the match and that is the same in football all of the time, you can't rest on your laurels, you have to play until the end.

"Today I am sad for the players who have played very well and made a great effort, but unfortunately we haven't come away with the result.

"I am also very pleased with the supporters who have given us great support here today."

HR: We're not only big spenders

Harry Redknapp: Lashes out at fellow strugglers

Given the plight of Leeds and Portsmouth in previous years, more attention than ever is being paid to the way clubs, particularly in the Premier League, are being run.

QPR have come under the microscope after a January spending spree that saw them twice break their transfer record, first by bringing in Marseille forward Loic Remy and then Anzhi's Christopher Samba.

With the club's Loftus Road home only holding 18,500 and relegation to the Championship a distinct possibility, there have been those questioning whether QPR could end up in financial trouble.

Redknapp, though, believes the club are being unfairly focused upon.

"Other clubs spend money down there," the QPR boss said. "Aston Villa have spent big money as well. People think 'They've only bought kids' - well go back to Darren Bent.

"You can go through a list of players there and they've spent good money, the Richard Dunnes and all these people.

"Southampton paid 12mil lion for a striker (Gaston Ramirez) and 6million for the lad at Burnley (Jay Rodriguez) - that's 18million for two players.

"It is suddenly like QPR are the only ones spending money. I think QPR only spent 12million in the summer, which in today's market is not astronomical.

"It seems we seem to be labelled as the only team that are spending big money. Samba was a big signing, but I don't know how much he earns."

Redknapp insisted the QPR board are "wealthy people" and "not exactly paupers" when questioned on the sustainability of comparatively large amounts of money being spent on wages and fees.

"That's up to the chairman and board members," he said. "I don't know if they can sustain it.

"That was their decision, the chairman and the shareholders, to spend that money on Samba. It isn't me saying 'Go and buy Chris Samba'.

"I don't think he has come here for anywhere near 100,000 a week but, whatever he is earning, that's their decis ion to spend that money.

"He came to me and said I had Chris Samba. What can you do?"

Jumat, 01 Februari 2013

Pochettino impresses Martinez

Mauricio Pochettino: Has impressed Martinez

The Saints' decision last month to sack Nigel Adkins, who guided them to back-to-back promotions over the past two seasons, and replace him with the former Espanyol coach at a time when the south coast outfit was lying 15th in the Barclays Premier League was widely met with bemusement.

But while Adkins' successor might have been little-known to much of the Southampton faithful, he is certainly familiar to Martinez.

The Spaniard rates Pochettino's work at Espanyol, where he achieved Primera Division finishes of 10th, 11th, eighth and 14th before leaving in November with them bottom of the table.

And Martinez believes the two performances the 40-year-old has overseen so far at his new club - a 0-0 home draw with Everton and 2-1 defeat at Manchester United - have been promising.

Speaking ahead of Wigan's home league clash with Southampton on Saturday, Martinez said: "You need to remember with the new manager that he is not involved in (the de cision of) changing managers - he is just coming in to do his job.

"He was very impressive at Espanyol. He is well-organised, he has very clear football concepts and he is used to dealing with high-pressure games and with bringing youngsters through.

"What he did at Espanyol was remarkable and with the way Southampton have been playing in the last two games you can see he has a relationship straight away with his team and that they reflect the way he wants to play."

Martinez was also keen to pay tribute to Adkins' efforts and thinks it has been a commendable season overall for 16th-placed Southampton, who go into Saturday's contest having lost only three times in their last 14 league games.

"I think Nigel Adkins did an incredible job and I'm sure everyone who is connected to Southampton will always appreciate that," he said.

"He achieved two promotions and steadied the group in the new league, so that was a phenomenal job from the outside.< /p>

"We can see with the two performances under the new manager what normally happens - it gives a new start for different players in the squad and the squad gets galvanised.

"But it is also fair to say that after their first few games this season, Southampton showed they were ready and used to the new league.

"They have been very, very impressive, so we expect a very difficult game."

Wigan are 18th in the table, level on points with both 17th-placed Reading and 19th-placed Aston Villa and three adrift of Southampton.

The Latics have seven matches left this term at the DW Stadium, where they have won only twice all season, and Martinez has once again stressed how important it is that his team make the most of those fixtures.

He said: "We have seven games left at the DW Stadium.

"Every single one of those 21 points that are there to fight for are going to be extremely vital."

Paul Scharner could make his Wigan comeback in to morrow's encounter after rejoining the club on transfer deadline day.

Scharner, who spent four-and-a-half years with the Latics before leaving in 2010, has been recruited by Martinez on loan from Hamburg until the end of the season as an additional option in central defence, where Ivan Ramis (knee) and Antolin Alcaraz (groin) are currently unavailable.

Saints draw strength from OT show

Mauricio Pochettino: Happy with display at Old Trafford

Although Southampton lost 2-1 at Old Trafford after seeing their early lead wiped out by Wayne Rooney's brace, Pochettino's side received major praise from Sir Alex Ferguson who claimed the Saints' second-half display was the best he had seen from a visiting team all season.

Southampton have looked to play expansive, attacking football in both of Pochettino's games since he replaced Nigel Adkins last month and the 40-year-old Argentinian is hoping they can build on that when they travel to the DW Stadium.

"That is the way we want to play but perhaps in the first half (at Old Trafford) we weren't able to do so," he said. "I am not happy with the way we played in the first half. That is not how we wanted to play. But I am very proud and happy with the way we played in the second.

"Our performance in the second half is going to give my players the confidence to play on like that in the future."

Saturday's match will be the first time Southamp ton have ever faced Wigan away from home and, if Pochettino can guide his side to a first win under his tenure, they will move six points clear of the Latics.

Wednesday's defeat at leaders United followed a 0-0 draw at home to fifth-placed Everton in Pochettino's first game in charge.

Wigan present a different challenge as they are currently languishing in the relegation zone but the former Espanyol coach, who took his players on a training camp in Barcelona last week, still expects a tough challenge.

"All games have their complexity and difficulty," he said. "But in any game, where you have a chance of getting the three points you must keep that mentality and go for the win."

Southampton skipper Adam Lallana, who could make his first start in almost two months against Wigan, echoed the comments of his manager and praised Latics' boss Roberto Martinez.

"They taught us a bit of a footballing lesson," Lallana said of the 2-0 defeat Wigan infl icted on Southampton in August.

"They've got a great squad and a great manager - he's kept them in the league for four or five years now and they've always been underdogs and written off. It's going to be a tough game."

Lallana was given the armband at St Mary's by Adkins but has only featured as a second-half substitute at Old Trafford since Pochettino was appointed due to a knee ligament injury.

The 24-year-old said he was in a similar position when Adkins first took charge but is pleased to be back so early after suffering what could have been a long-term problem.

"I remember when Adkins first came to the club I was on the sidelines as well," he told the Southern Daily Echo.

"It's almost like the first day at school again. I'm lucky I was only out six or seven weeks, not six or seven months. I was going to be patient, but I felt great and really good (against United)."

Another player who will be raring to play at the DW Stadium is new defensive signing Vegard Forren.

The Norway international signed from Molde on the same day Pochettino was named as manager but did not feature in midweek.

The club are believed to have fought off interest from the likes of Liverpool, Everton and Fulham to sign Forren but Pochettino has said the 24-year-old will have to remain patient before he is given a chance in the first team.

"He arrived with the team after being on holiday so he needs to go through an adaptation period to be able to play," Pochettino said. "Nonetheless, he will have to earn his place because other players are doing very well."