Everton boss Roberto Martinez has praised Southampton ahead of the clash between the two sides at St. Mary’s in Saturday’s early kickoff, according to EvertonFC.com.
The former Wigan boss is hoping to maintain his side’s European football push, with the Toffees sitting fifth and just a single point behind Arsenal, who presently occupy the final Champions League spot. Southampton, however, have impressed this season and currently sit eighth, but have failed to win in their last three outings.
Former Espanyol boss Mauricio Pochettino in particular has impressed Martinez, who told the club’s official website: “I have huge admiration, huge. Mauricio came in at a difficult time where Southampton had had a very successful period of two promotions with the previous management team, but he embraced the good work that Nigel did and transformed the team.
“It’s a team that plays with a real bravery, they condense the spaces, they press very dynamic and they have got really good quality in the young players that have been given strong roles. It’s been very impressive how they always get good performances against the top sides, especially at home. They always get good results against the top teams.
“I think that shows you that the team plays with incredible swagger, with incredible intelligence in the way that they are set up tactically and they make it very difficult.”
Pochettino arrived on the south coast in January 2013, replacing previous boss Nigel Adkins who had been surprisingly sacked. The news had been met with caution by the club’s supporters, but Pochettino has helped establish Southampton as a solid Premier League presence since his arrival.
Southampton are missing England international striker Jay Rodriguez, who has been agonizingly ruled out of contention for this summer’s World Cup in Brazil after suffering cruciate ligament damage during Saints’ 4-1 loss at Man City earlier this month.
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