• Premier League

Pochettino targets Champions League

ESPN staff
October 4, 2013
Southampton boss Mauricio Pochettino is aiming higher than the Europa League this season © AP

Mauricio Pochettino has dismissed the idea of taking Southampton in to the Europa League - because the Saints manager has even bigger ambitions.

Southampton were among the favourites for relegation last term, but they stayed up with ease and they currently lie in sixth position this term after taking 11 points from their opening six matches.

There is a bullish confidence inside the Southampton camp, and some are predicting that the south-coast club even could challenge for European qualification this season.

Sunday's visitors Swansea defied the odds to qualify for the Europa League last season, and they have already provided their fans with a memorable 3-0 away win over Valencia in the competition.

Pochettino played in the Europa League for four seasons as a player, but he never got a crack at the big time and he now wants to do that as a coach.

"To be honest I am not keen on the Europa League," he said. "I think we are all attracted to the Champions League.

"The Europa League is a competition that I don't look forward to because [if you are in it] it kind of means that you haven't been good enough to actually make it in to the Champions League so I think all managers are aiming one step above of competing in the Champions League, so it's not a competition that is attractive to me.

"[The Champions League] is something I have always looked forward to competing in."

However, instead of contemplating an assault on the top four this term - despite Southampton's impressive start - Pochettino diplomatically added: "We're only concentrating on the next match."

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