Pierre-Emile Højbjerg believes that facing Chelsea for the second time in the space of a week will provide added motivation for Saints in the Emirates FA Cup semi-final.
The Blues overturned a 2-0 deficit in eight second-half minutes at St Mary’s last weekend and Sunday’s rematch in the capital is, for Højbjerg, a chance to not only learn from the mistakes made that day but also to give the fans with a strong on-field conclusion in the league and cup.
“Playing Chelsea again is a motivation to show that what happened last time definitely will not happen again,” he said, previewing the match this week.
“To show that we can do it and to show that we can go all the way. We want to do it, we can do it and we have to do it.”
Saints’ run to the semis has come amidst a relegation battle in the Premier League and, while survival in the top-flight remains the priority, Sunday’s Wembley encounter is nonetheless a great occasion to continue “a positive journey in the FA Cup for us and the fans” and lay a platform for the final four matches of the season.
“I hope we can give them a positive journey in the cup and follow it with some positivity in the Premier League," Højbjerg continued.
“You want to do all you can to win a trophy like the FA Cup but we need to face the value of the Premier League. Hopefully this can be a path to a positive end to the season.
“I don’t think that before it’s done, before it is resolved, we can forget what is happening in the league. The FA Cup is its own story and hopefully it will have a beautiful end. It is its own game."
pierre-Emile højbjergit's a chance to learn from the mistakes, and it's a new game and a new start.
Sunday’s game is one with plenty riding on it for both sides but is one to be approached as usual for the Dane.
“The key is to not do anything out of the norm,” he concluded. “I focus on what my job will be during the game and try to prepare physically in terms of sleeping well, eating well and getting treatment.
“Once the game approaches, it’s about being prepared mentally for who you will be facing directly. It is a chance to learn from the mistakes and then it is a new game and a new start.”