Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 July 2014

Boruc eyes Champions League

Artur Boruc believes the sky is the limit for Southampton

Artur Boruc knows his target could be considered fanciful but he sees no reason why Southampton cannot push for a Champions League place this season.

Four years ago the club were teetering on the financial precipice, wondering whether or not they would even been able to start their League One campaign.

Now, they are readying themselves for a trip to Liverpool in the Premier League after splurging £35million on just three players over the summer.

That outlay highlights the ambition on the south coast, with European often football mentioned as a realistic target.

Back in April, Boruc spoke of his belief that Champions League qualification was an achievable aim for Southampton down the line - and he feels that could even become a reality this term.

"It might sound weird, but if you really, really think about this, I would not say we are worse than any other team in England, so why not?" he told Press Association Sport.

"If we're going to work hard, if we are going to believe in our work, we may be there.

"I am always dreaming about the Champions League. Obviously it is going to be tough but I think there is a chance towards the top of the league.

"I mean, why not win the title in the future? It sounds like something unbelievable and now it may be, but if you believe, it may happen. We do believe so hard we can achieve it."

It is quite a statement from Boruc and one few will take seriously given Saints' start to the season.An opening-day win at West Brom has been followed by home draws with Sunderland and West Ham, as well as a defeat at Norwich.

"Obviously it should be better," said Boruc, speaking at the Southampton Boat Show as part of the club's partnership with Sunseeker.

"We've had a couple of games that we could have got more points from, but overall I think we are quite pleased with our performances.

"We are hoping that in the next couple of games things can get better for us.

"We've got quite a tough game just now against Liverpool, but you know if you want to go top 10 you need to collect points from that kind of game as well. Hopefully we can do that on Saturday."

Boruc is hopeful of becoming the first man to keep Daniel Sturridge at bay this season and has been pleased with his side's defensive displays to date.

A shyness in front of goal, though, is of genuine concern to Saints.

Italy international Dani Osvaldo has yet to find the net since his club-record move from Roma, while Rickie Lambert has been unable to replicate the form he has shown for England.

"We've only played four games so far and we need time, especially with the new player up front," Boruc said.

"One day it is going to click and they are going to score lots of goals."

Boruc has been impressed by Osvaldo and the other big-money arrivals, Dejan Lovren and Victor Wanyama.

The defensive-minded duo have helped Saints concede just two goals this season, with Boruc keeping two clean sheets.

Few could have predicted such an important role for the Poland international after what was a difficult start to life on the south coast.

In only his second game for the club, the former Celtic goalkeeper was subject of an internal investigation into allegations he swore at home fans and threw a water bottle at them.

Boruc was dropped from the side after that match with Tottenham and only returned to the starting line-up on New Year's Day, although the 33-year-old has since established himself as number one.

"It is important for a goalkeeper that they have the confidence of the coach, from the manager," he said.

"That is what is happening now so I am really pleased and I am going to work hard to keep my place in the team.

"Toni Jimenez [Southampton's goalkeeping coach] is fantastic to work with. He has brought something from Spain we didn't have before.

"I had not worked with a Spaniard before so it is different but it is good. I am over 30, but still learning."

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