LONDON (Reuters) – Nobody can stop Southampton’s run towards the top of the English Premier League, except perhaps the Saints themselves, says manager Mauricio Pochettino.
The unfashionable club from England’s south coast thumped Hull City 4-1 at the weekend to go third in the league, a fifth consecutive home win, and one which extended their unbeaten run in the top flight to eight matches.
“The only thing that can stop us… is ourselves,” Pochettino told reporters. “We could be our own worst enemy.
“We need to keep working with the same work ethic and humility because we will probably be getting a lot of compliments due to how we played.
“We need to make sure that we manage those compliments in a good way and turn them into positive energy to keep up our performances. We can’t let it get to our heads — we need to manage expectations and just keep doing what we are doing.”
Compliments have been coming thick and fast since before the win over Hull, with a victory at Anfield and a draw at Old Trafford included in that eight-match unbeaten run.
Indeed, the Saints have been universally heralded for their attacking flair twinned with a miserly defense, and their performances have caught the eye of England boss Roy Hodgson.
Hodgson included three Saints — Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana and Jay Rodriguez — in his squad for this week’s match against Chile and next week’s Wembley clash with Germany.
Both Lambert and Lallana scored against Hull, with Hodgson in the crowd. Lallana’s weaving run and curled shot drew particular praise from his manager.
“He was chuffed to bits with the goal – it was amazing. He is happiest when the team is playing well and they put in an amazing performance,” Pochettino said.
“He showed the amazing football that he is capable of and his quality.”
Their growing reputation will be put to the test after the international break, though, with back-to-back trips to league leaders Arsenal and fourth-placed Chelsea.
(editing by Justin Palmer)