Belfast Telegraph

Claude Puel warns Southampton they are in for a tough afternoon at Burnley

Southampton manager Claude Puel has warned his players there will be little time to revel in the EFL Cup win over Liverpool when they come back down to earth with a testing Premier League trip to Burnley.

The Saints will take a slender 1-0 lead up to Anfield for the second leg of their semi-final later this month following Nathan Redmond's first-half strike at St Mary's Stadium on Wednesday night.

Puel, though, knows full well what reception will await his men at Turf Moor.

Southampton will be out to secure a first league win since December 18 and leave with all three points - something eight teams have failed to do against the Clarets on their own ground so far this season.

"It is difficult to play away to Burnley, (against) a strong and physical team. It will be a different game to the one against Liverpool," the Frenchman said at a press conference.

"Normally we are (the team) with the possession, but it is always difficult to play Burnley at home and it will be important to play with space and quality.

"This team is dangerous in counter attack and (on) free-kicks. We know all this, so it is important for us to stay focused."

Puel accepts recovery time will be key, both physically and mentally.

"It is just not a game three days after, it is many games for these players," said the Saints boss, who has also managed a Europa League campaign in his first season at the helm.

"It is the first time for Southampton that they play all of these games in all of these competitions , so it is new and important to learn from it.

"I trained many games with Lille - (once) we played 64 official games in the season, we lost against Sevilla in the quarter-finals of the Europa League and we also finished second in the (French) table to qualify for the Champions League.

"It is important to have the ability to pass through all these games and have the recovery, you have to also keep the analysis without euphoria.

"It is not just the physical work, it is always a good recovery with the head, without losing energy out of the games."

Puel confirmed he would again not select Jose Fonte while the Portugal defender sorts out his future after he handed in a transfer request.

With forward Charlie Austin recovering from a shoulder injury and midfielder Sofiane Boufal having returned early from African Nations Cup duty because of a knee problem, the Saints boss may consider a move to bring in some cover during January.

"If we can improve with the injury to Charlie and Boufal, then of course , but this is always a difficult market," Puel said.

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