Pep Guardiola is expecting a tough test when he brings his Manchester City side to St Mary’s in the Premier League on Saturday.
Saints earned a 1-1 draw against the Citizens in the reverse fixture at the Etihad back in October, and Guardiola admitted to being impressed with what he saw that day.
“Southampton are having an exceptional season,” said the Man City boss during his pre-match press conference.
“They have a good manager and players in all positions. They have very good midfielders, the strikers are so fast, the wingers can play inside, all of them good quality.
“I was impressed when they came here in what was a busy time for us. It will be a really good test.”
Guardiola will have to make do without Ilkay Gundogan (knee) and Gabriel Jesus (foot) for Saturday’s tie, whilst defender Bacary Sagna is also likely to miss out due to an adductor injury.
Though the Spanish manager did reveal that captain Vincent Kompany was fully fit again after overcoming a minor reaction following the defeat to Chelsea.
“After the game against Chelsea he had a little problem in his legs,” continued Guardiola.
“And we didn’t want to take the risk, but of course the good news is that he was able to play 90 minutes in a tough game and at a high level.
“Sagna and Jesus are much better but aren’t ready yet. Everyone else is OK for Southampton.”