Date: 23rd April 2015 at 9:41pm
Written by:

Manager Ronald Koeman has said that the return of Mauricio Pochettino should be a special occasion for Southampton and he didn’t believe that he would receive an unhealthy welcome from the fans.

With a bit of previous banter between the two gaffer’s, ahead of this weekend’s game Koeman was full of praise for the man who proceeded him at the club and he said it would be a ‘special match’ on Pochettino’s return to St Mary’s.

‘Everybody was afraid because we had to make a lot of changes in the team. But I think the quality of the players that we brought in were good, at a good level. I think the rest of the players had really a good aspiration and ambition to do a good season, to play a good season at a good level. Now we are fighting for a high position in the table. There’s still five games to play and a very nice one this Saturday afternoon.’

For him and the players he knows it’s just another game and the difference between the two sides is only a point and a result either way could make a lot of difference in the fight for European football next season, but he acknowledges for the fans the occasion does have an extra tang to it now.

‘For the fans maybe it makes it a little bit more special because Mauricio is now the coach and was the coach of Southampton. He is the coach of the opponent this Saturday, so that makes it special but the game will be decided between the white lines.’

The game could also see Koeman break Pochettino’s points haul at the club but as for the welcome he expects his opposite number to get, he explained.

‘Sometimes if you go as a Barcelona player to Madrid the reception is difficult, and sometimes in Holland. But, okay, I think the reception for Mauricio normally has to be good because he did a great job for Southampton. I like him as a person and as a coach and we have a good contact.’

Having referenced the previous banter, Koeman went on to say that organisationally at the club, and specifically some of the development of the youngster Pochettino had to take credit for and whilst he may be doing things a little differently, he acknowledges the previous work that Poch did that allowed him to build on that and give us a very successful season this year.

‘I took that over and maybe we were different in some details. From what I heard, maybe I try to do more training sessions with the ball and maybe he was a little bit more physical. I think the start, for the development of the team, was under Mauricio and he did a great job last season. We continue that and so far we made it a little bit better than it was, but that is all about the experience and quality of the players.’

Vital Saints on: facebook

Vital Saints on: twitter

Join Vital Saints

Join The Vital Debate