Belfast Telegraph

Schneiderlin sees Saints improving

Midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin believes the new season will see an improvement in Southampton's play as manager Mauricio Pochettino has been able to establish his own blueprint for success during pre-season.

Pochettino replaced Nigel Adkins as manager at St Mary's in January and won plaudits for the attacking style of play he introduced as he guided Saints to a 14th-placed finish on their return to the Barclays Premier League.

But former France Under-21 international Schneiderlin feels a whole summer on the south coast has allowed Pochettino to fully introduce his own footballing philosophy in to the squad.

"It is a massive thing," he said. "Last year we changed the way we played straightaway but we couldn't really work on the special things because we didn't really have time to do it.

"This year we have had two months to know exactly what he wanted from us and to work on the specific things and now I think we are going to be better with and without the ball."

The former Strasbourg man has been at Southampton since 2008 and was a consistent performer in the club's first season back in the top flight for seven years last season.

The coming campaign brings great optimism amongst everyone involved with Saints as heavy summer investment in defender Dejan Lovren and midfielder Victor Wanyama means striving for a better finish by May 2014 should be more achievable.

"I can't say a target - we want to finish as high as possible," Schneiderlin said.

"The first couple of games are going to give us a good idea of what we can do and we want to take it game by game and finish as high as possible.

"We want to obviously do a lot better than last year. Last year we could have finished in the top 10 if we had not lost some games towards the end of the campaign - We know that in the Premier League the ups and downs and be very quick.

"I think we have prepared ourselves very well, we have trained very hard through this pre-season and we have just got better and better with every friendly game we have played.

"This week we have tried to correct those little details that we didn't do quite as well and now we are finally ready to start the season."

As well as the additions of Lovren and Wanyama, Southampton have one more international player amongst their ranks following Rickie Lambert's memorable England bow on Wednesday evening.

The 31-year-old headed in the winning goal in England's 3-2 win over Scotland with his first touch as an international footballer but, having played and trained with him for almost four years, Lambert's impact at Wembley came as no shock to Schneiderlin.

"We just congratulated him because what he has done is fantastic," he said.

"It didn't surprise us at all because he is a goalscorer and will score goals against any team.

"Last year it took him just 20 minutes to score in the Premier League and it took him two minutes to score in an international game so it just shows how good he is."


From Belfast Telegraph