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Koeman's 'no fear' call for Saints against Chelsea

Saint's manager, Ronald Koeman, has called for his side to produce a fearless, confident performance at title-chasing Chelsea on Sunday. Despite a few bumps along the way, but Jose Mourinho's side remain on track to win the Premier League this term.

Manchester City start the weekend five points behind and with a game less than the Blues, who will can ratchet up the pressure with victory over Southampton on Sunday.

However, three points will be far from straightforward against this season's surprise package as Koeman's side look to the continue their scarcely-believable top-four tilt.

"Confidence and not afraid," the Dutchman said when asked how Saints need to approach the match.

"That's the most important when you play against big teams in an away game that you be yourself and you focus on your own game, your own way of playing, your own organisation.

"We know one of the best 45 minutes we play at home against Chelsea and that gives the team and the players confidence that we can have a good result."

While Saints have been impressive on the road, the trip to Chelsea has been made all the tougher by Wednesday's Champions League exit to Paris St Germain.

"They will do everything to win the game," Koeman said of the backlash. "That's a normal reaction because they need a win after a disappointing result.

"They have the experience to handle that, the manager has the experience to handle that, more experience than our players, and that's no question I think."

Southampton are without a win in five trips to Stamford Bridge, where last season they went down 3-1 despite taking the lead after 13 seconds.

Jay Rodriguez struck that goal but will be absent on Sunday, as he has been all season.

The England international is slowly working his way back from rupturing an anterior cruciate ligament last April and went on the recent mid-season break to Switzerland, with a return before the season is out "not unlikely".

"The reason to take Jay with the group was to give him that feeling back to be part of the group," Koeman said.

"He's doing well, he's progressing but he's still to score to be part of the squad of the team.

"He needs more time for that and he will get more time for that. Most important is the health of the player and we will see when he is back."


Stars are in Windsor for polo & The Queen's Cup Final

Downton Abbey's Michelle Dockery was among the celebrities at today's event

Cartier International Day is typically one of the most star-studded sporting events of the year. The event hosts the Queen's Cup Final in the sport of polo. The actress Michelle Dockery, who stars in Downton Abbey, was one of those attending the prestigious event in Windsor.

Richie Barker sacked as Portsmouth manager

Richie Barker has been sacked as manager of Portsmouth Credit: Clive Gee/PA Wire

Richie Barker has been sacked as manager of Portsmouth FC after only 20 games in charge.

The 38-year-old won only four of his games in charge of the League Two side which sits two points above the relegation zone.

Pompey take on Newport this Saturday. Academy boss Andy Awford is expected to be placed in temporary charge.

Bournemouth 5-0 Doncaster

Yann Kermorgant celebrated his full debut by netting a hat-trick as Bournemouth demolished Doncaster 5-0 in the Sky Bet Championship.

The striker, a £400,000 January signing from Charlton, scored twice in the first half before completing a third midway through the second period.

Harry Arter added two goals of his own in the second half as the Cherries completed their first league double of the season.

In the 20th minute Bournemouth had a trio of good chances to stamp their dominance.

It only took five second-half minutes for the side to add to their tally, as Arter drilled a left-footed strike from the edge of the area for his second goal of the season.

Kermorgant then completed his hat-trick in the 73rd minute.

Saints' assistant boss defends cup changes

Southampton assistant manager Jesus Perez defended Mauricio Pochettino's

decision to make six changes from Tuesday's 1-0 victory over Hull.

Saints manager Pochettino, made six changes - replacing Artur Boruc, Calum Chambers, Jose Fonte, Jack Cork, Morgan Schneiderlin and Jay Rodriguez.

We pick our strongest team where we can. We decided to play

with the best 11 after the game at Hull during the week. Our team is strong and all the players are available to play. We picked the

strongest team. There are players that needed a couple of days to recover and some players with illness or just a lack of freshness... we have nothing more to say.

We are a little bit sad to lose this opportunity to go forward in the FA Cup but nothing to say about our players."

– Jesus Perez, Southampton assistant manager


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