Mauricio Pochettino says young striker Sam Gallagher has shown he can compete with the Premier League’s best players.
The 18-year-old made his first Saints start in Tuesday’s game against then-leaders Arsenal, putting in a confident performance as Saints picked up a deserved point.
And, with just over 24 hours left until the transfer window closes, Pochettino says Gallagher’s showing has left him confident that his squad has the necessary depth required to see out the season.
“Against Arsenal, we saw that Sam Gallagher – a player from our Academy who is already at this club – is keen to make the most of the opportunity that we’ve given him, so we’re counting on him,” the manager told Saints Player today.
“He associates himself with Rickie Lambert and Jay Rodriguez well, so we already have a very good player in our ranks.
“His performance on Tuesday showed he can perform against top players like Per Mertesacker, a German international, and Laurent Koscielny, a French international.
“He really put them under pressure, so that’s given us confidence in his performance and confidence that he can perform at the highest level. Why not keep giving him opportunities?”
Saints kick off February with a trip to lowly Fulham, who sit second-bottom of the Premier League table.
Saturday’s opponents replaced Martin Jol with Rene Meulensteen at the start of last month, and have been active in the January transfer window – leaving Pochettino expecting a different sort of match to the one Saints experienced when the Cottagers were roundly beaten at St Mary’s last October.
“We’re going to be facing a completely different Fulham side to last time – they have a different manager and they’ve made a lot of changes and signings, so it’s going to be a completely different game,” he insisted.
“Even though they try to play the same style as they did under Martin Jol, they have different players now and those players make a difference.
“They’re in a very important moment because they’re fighting for survival and to stay in this league, so this will be a big game for them.”
Saints’ next four matches are against sides in the bottom half of the Premier League table, but Pochettino has warned players and the Club’s supporters against complacency.
“This is a very good time to add some points to our tally, but it’s clear that we’ll be facing opposition teams who want the same things so that will make it difficult for us,” he said.
“We want to get as much success as we can from the next few games and to try to get as many points as we can.
“Against Arsenal – the league leaders – we dominated the first half here at St Mary’s so we need to highlight that and think about it going into the game against Fulham.”