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Southampton midfielder still believes in top four finish

Morgan Schneiderlin says Southampton are refusing to give up on their Champions League aspirations despite Saturday's damaging defeat at Stoke.

Schneiderlin scored in Saturday's defeat at Stoke. Credit: PA

Saints missed the chance to close the gap on fourth-placed Manchester City to two points as they went down to a 2-1 defeat at the Britannia Stadium.

Schneiderlin opened the scoring with his first Barclays Premier League goal since September, but a mistake from Saints goalkeeper Kelvin Davis allowed Mame Diouf to equalise and substitute Charlie Adam stole all three points with six minutes to go.

Schneiderlin accepts the Europa League is a more realistic goal for Southampton now, but he insists the players still have faint hopes of qualifying for the premier club competition in Europe.

"We wanted to achieve the top four and now it's going to be even more complicated but we're not going to give up," the midfielder told Southampton's website.

"We wanted to give the fans the most prestigious competition but if not, we want to give them the Europa League. We want to secure European football for this club, that's our main target."

Stoke v Southampton starting line-ups


Stoke poised to sign winger from Barcelona

Stoke are set to complete their third signing from Barcelona in less than two years, according to the agent of Morroccan winger Moha El Ouriachi.

Moha El Ouriachi looks set to join Bojan and Marc Muniesa at Stoke. Credit:

Potters manager Mark Hughes, the former Barcelona striker, has already snapped up Bojan Krkic and Marc Muniesa from the Nou Camp and teenager El Ouriachi now looks to be on his way to the Britannia Stadium this summer.

The 19-year-old Barcelona B player is apparently keen to seek first-team action rather than extend his contract with the Spanish giants.

We thank Barca for the deal they offered the player and the efforts they have gone to try to renew his contract. But another proposal was really interesting on both a professional and economic level. Moha has the option of joining the first team squad at Stoke and that was irresistible.

– El Ouriachi's agent, Raul Verdu, speaking to Sport

Stoke City v Crystal Palace starting line-ups


Jermaine Pennant joins injury-ravaged Wigan

Former Liverpool and Stoke winger Jermaine Pennant has signed a deal with injury-hit Championship side Wigan until the end of the season.

Former Liverpool man Pennant has joined Wigan. Credit: PA

The 32-year-old last played in England on New Year's Day in 2014 and was a free agent having recently returned from a stint in the Indian Super League.

Pennant trained with Wigan last week and was in attendance at the DW Stadium on Friday night as their worrying form continued in a 3-0 loss to Charlton which leaves them deep in the relegation mire.

Stoke faced with injury problems for Man City game

Stoke manager Mark Hughes is without a number of key players ahead of his side's Barclays Premier League clash with Manchester City at the Britannia Stadium on Wednesday as injuries are beginning to mount.

Ireland is struggling with a hamstring problem. Credit: PA

Stephen Ireland (hamstring) and Marc Wilson (groin) are the latest additions to the treatment room, joining Ryan Shawcross (back) and Erik Pieters (hernia), along with long-term casualties Bojan Krkic and Peter Odemwingie (both knee).

Marko Arnautovic, who missed Saturday's 1-1 draw at Newcastle with an ankle injury, has a chance of making the 18 for the clash with City, although Hughes feels the midfielder is more likely to return for the FA Cup fifth-round tie at Blackburn on Saturday.

Stoke squad: Begovic, Butland, Wollscheid, Muniesa, Bardsley, Cameron, Nzonzi, Adam, Whelan, Sidwell, Palacios, Walters, Arnautovic, Crouch, Moses, Diouf.

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