Gaffer Looks To The Summer

By SFC Media time Thu 16 May Club

Mauricio Pochettino says his first four months at Southampton have been the most intense he has experienced in football.

Having arrived at St Mary's on 20th January, the Argentine has helped Saints secure their top-flight status with one game to spare.

It is still possible that Pochettino's side can finish as high as 10th in the Barclays Premier League with a positive result against Stoke City on Sunday.

And, in his press conference ahead of that game, the manager was asked to analyse his start to life in England as he approaches the close season.

"I don't really want to get ahead of myself and make a quick judgement right now," said Pochettino. 

"We still have one game left, and that will be very important for me, the players and Nicola [Cortese, Executive Chairman]."

"However, on Sunday it will be four months that we've been here, and many things have happened during that time.

"We'll need to be a little bit detached to analyse those experiences. We've all improved a lot, we've learned a lot and we've had new experiences in these four months.

"I'm going to be working in Barcelona [over the summer] because my kids don't finish school until 20th June and I'll be travelling back and forth between Southampton, but I will also take a few days off because these four months have been the most intense I've had in football." 

Despite being focused on securing a positive result on Sunday, Pochettino did also confirm that planning is already well underway for next season.

And the manager revealed he would like to have his squad for his first full campaign at Saints in place by the start of July.

"We are going to start looking at our goals for next season by having a meeting about them today," confirmed Mauricio. "Hopefully we'll have everything set up for next season ahead of 1st July. 

"We want to know exactly which signings are going to be available to us. It may be difficult to do that by 1st July, but we're going to try our hardest. 

"It doesn't really depend on us – there are always different parties involved, namely the player, the club that the player belongs to and us. 

"We will try to speed us the decisions that need to be made because, if we can't get things sorted by 1st July, players are going to have trouble adapting. 

"You see certain problems arise when signings take a long time to be decided, so on 1st July we'd like to have a full squad ready to go for pre-season."

Media speculation this week has suggested that chairman Cortese is considering his position at the club, and Pochettino was questioned about the reports.

The manager was vocal in his support for Cortese, admitting that he would be forced to consider his own position at St Mary's if the chairman were to depart.

"I don't really like to speak about myself," said Pochettino. "Our merits are down to the players and Nicola Cortese, who is the person who created all of this and made it possible.

"I would not continue if Nicola wasn't here. He has basically created this reality for Southampton over the past four years, and the people who are behind the scenes in this club were a little bit worried about what has been said. 

"In a personal sense, I would not understand a Southampton without Nicola being here. 

"When I first arrived here, nobody knew who Mauricio Pochettino was. Nicola put his faith in me, having known me from way back. When I got to know his project, we were on the same wavelength in terms of what we wanted for Southampton and the future of this club. 

"My future has to be with Nicola. He's the person that has put his faith in me as manager of Southampton Football Club.

"I'm a very honest person, and I'm very grateful to him. I wouldn't understand how I could carry on if Nicola was not here. 

"He's the person that called me and told me about the project. I have great support for Southampton as a club and for the supporters as well, but you have to understand that Nicola is the one who has placed his faith in me. 

"I am a very transparent and honest person, and I'm completely on Nicola's wavelength in terms of his ideas about the future of the club. It really wouldn't make sense if I were at this club and he wasn't. 

"We coincide in that we want to do the best for this club. We have a clear path in how we want to proceed for the future and how to place Southampton as high as possible. That's how we want to proceed. 

"There is something that unites the two of us in that we have a passion for this club and the project. We are fully committed and united in that.

"We're going to have a few meetings this afternoon and throughout next week as well. We're all working as if everything will continue as normal, and for the future of this club. 

"We want to have everything set up and tied down for 1st July, so we're working as if everything is as it is. I have total confidence and faith that Nicola will be here next season, and that I will be here as well."

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