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Saints 'won't get distracted by European qualifications'

Mauricio Pochettino is preparing Saints for Stoke this weekend Credit: Press Association Images

Despite Southampton being fifth in the Premier League and starting the season on a high, manager Mauricio Pochettino is not letting his players get distracted with thoughts of the European qualifications.

Saints moved into third place, even if it was for a few hours, last weekend after beating Fulham at St Mary's.

They are just 4 points off leaders Arsenal and the idea of making the European qualification is a possibility.

But Pochettino is adamant his side will remain focused.

He said, "We always aim to maintain the same focus in training and training with the same intensity, so we just want to keep on training hard.

"It's clear that when you win you get a good atmosphere within the team and the club which is a very good thing, but we need to stay grounded and keep on training hard and looking ahead to the next game."

The team are preparing to play Stoke this weekend, which Pochettino expects to be a 'difficult and tough.'

He said, "We expect a very tough and physical game. On average, Stoke have the tallest team in the league."

Fears new Southampton boss could quit

Mauricio Pochettino was appointed to the post in January. Credit: PA

Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino has this morning confirmed he will follow Nicola Cortese out of the club should the executive chairman leave.

The Italian businessman is understood to be considering his position at Saints due to frustrations over the backing he receives.

Cortese, who has overseen Saints rise from League One to the top flight, wants the Liebherr trust to underwrite his strategy for Southampton to consolidate themselves in the Premier League.

The executive chairman will make a decision on whether to remain at the club within the next month and manager Pochettino has confirmed if Cortese leaves, so will he.

Asked if he would be staying if Cortese left, the Argentinian said: "Of course not, because the person that has put his faith in me in this club and as a manager is Nicola Cortese.

"Nicola Cortese has basically been the reality at Southampton for the past four years.

"Of course, the people that are in the club, that are part of the club, that are behind the scenes in the club were a little bit worried about what has been said.

"Me on a personal sense, I would not understand a Southampton without Nicola being here."

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Will Saints shine at Stadium of Light?

Southampton's Manager Mauricio Pochettino Credit: Chris Ison/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Southampton could be stretched at the Stadium of Light tomorrow, with Gaston Ramirez and Danny Fox both suspended. Morgan Schneiderlin, Maya Yoshida and Emmanuel Mayuka are doubts for the match against a side Pochettino has been impressed by since Paolo Di Canio's arrival.

"I think we have enough time to speak about next season's goals," the Saints boss said.

"We've first got these two games coming up. We need to be very much respectful of this season, which has not yet finished."

We will have ample time to speak about next season's goals once this season's goals have been achieved. I have not spoken about transfers or made any plans regarding that yet."

"But if we look back at previous seasons I am pretty sure the chairman will have an investment plan to bring in new players and reinforce the squad."

Saints seeks safety at Sunderland

Southampton's Manager Mauricio Pochettino on the touch-line at St Mary's Credit: Chris Ison/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Sir Alex Ferguson is one of the many to have been impressed by Pochettino's high energy pressing game and there is increasing talk from those at the club of soon making Europe.

However, those plans could be derailed as a poor recent run has left them in danger of a return to the second tier.

Southampton are four points off the drop zone heading into tomorrow's penultimate game at Sunderland - a situation that means Pochettino has put future plans on the back burner.

Saints upbeat ahead of trip to Norwich

Speaking at today's press conference ahead of Southampton's Premier League clash at Norwich, Saints boss Mauricio Pochettino says the subject of relegation "does not enter" his mind.

Saints sit just three points above the drop zone and the manager - who took over from Nigel Adkins earlier this year - says his side have deserved more than one win from his six games in charge.

Meanwhile keeper Kelvin Davis spoke of his delight at signing a new contract keeping him at St Mary's until 2016.

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