Belfast Telegraph

Schneiderlin keen to keep winning

Morgan Schneiderlin wants to carry the feel-good factor at Southampton into the international break as Saints continue to fight at the top of the table.

Ronald Koeman's side have won seven of their last eight Barclays Premier League fixtures and are just four points adrift of unbeaten leaders Chelsea in second spot.

In contrast Leicester, the visitors to St Mary's this weekend, have dropped into the relegation zone having mustered just one draw from their previous five games.

Schneiderlin, who has starred in the Southampton midfield since becoming unsettled over the course of a summer that saw a host of big names leave the south coast, wants to heap more misery on the Foxes to leave Saints sitting pretty.

"For a few games now there has been a lot of expectation and we responded well," he told Southampton's official website.

"We are ready to kick on, we know that after Saturday we are going to have another break, the mood is very good but we know it can change very quickly.

"It is important to us before the international break to have a good result against Leicester so we are able to enjoy our national duties.

"Before whatever break it is important to get a victory, but we want to keep second place and to catch Chelsea."

Schneiderlin will be looking to pick up his seventh France cap in a friendly against Albania next Friday but is focused on Leicester for the time being.

"They have some good players, they did very well against Manchester United (a 5-3 win)," he added.

"We need to be on our toes to win the game. Deep inside, we know we have something good to do this season, but we know we have to work hard."

Victor Wanyama is likely to partner Schneiderlin in midfield on Saturday having scored crucial goals in recent weeks and, with a fully-fit squad to choose from, Koeman is pleased to have a welcome selection headache.

"It's always a difficult situation," he said.

"I was a footballer, I understand that kind of problem because that's difficult for the players, but all of them are acting in a professional way.

"Wanyama has scored two times in 1-0 games. That means a lot. I'm happy about all the midfield players, but sometimes one is a little bit more disappointed as they will not start the game, but that is part of the job."

Boss Nigel Pearson has dismissed any extra pressure as "ludicrous" despite Leicester slipping into the drop zone.

Leicester earned plaudits for their start, beating Manchester United 5-3 and drawing with Arsenal and Everton before their mini-slump.

And Pearson brushed off the unwanted spotlight and insisted it does not concern him.

"I'm under no more pressure than any other week, whether it is this year, last year or any other year," he told reporters.

"The pressure I'm under is the pressure I put on myself. If that is the case (being under more pressure), it is all pretty ludicrous.

"I have to continue to manage people's expectations through hysteria and depression. It seems to be one or the other.

"My expectations are pretty realistic. The goals we have for our group of players remains the same.

"I want us to maximise our own ability. I'm not measuring our performance against other teams' capabilities. I'm measuring it against what I know we're capable of and what I know needs to be us meeting the demands of the Premier League."

The Foxes' only point in the last five games came in their 2-2 draw with Burnley, where they conceded a last-minute equaliser.

They have lost the last three without scoring but five-goal striker Leonardo Ulloa is expected to return at St Mary's after being rested for last week's 1-0 defeat to West Brom with a minor groin problem.

"When you have soft tissue injuries, fatigue is the main contributory factor to a repeat," continued Pearson.

"It's about making sure the players are in the best physical condition because we need everyone 100 per cent.

"There is a danger because of his goal return - five in nine starts is very good - that we need to make sure we weigh in elsewhere."

Matt Upson (foot) is still out but Foxes boss Nigel Pearson is hopeful the defender, who is yet to play since joining in the summer, could return before Christmas.

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