Pochettino defends Hammers' tactics

  • Last Updated: April 12 2013, 13:28 BST

Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino has refused to criticise West Ham for their perceived negative approach in some of their Barclays Premier League fixtures this season.

Mauricio Pochettino: Respects West Ham's tactics
Mauricio Pochettino: Respects West Ham's tactics

Following last weekend's goalless draw at Liverpool there were plenty of questions asked about the system and style of play deployed by Hammers boss Sam Allardyce.

Pochettino, who has brought free-flowing and attacking football to St Mary's since replacing Nigel Adkins in January, has guided the Saints into 11th spot in the table and welcomes West Ham to the south coast on Saturday.

But the former Argentina international accepted that there are different ways of picking up vital results in the league and said he and his players must respect West Ham's approach if they are to overcome Allardyce's side.

"There are always different tastes and different points of view in football," he said.

"I think they got a result that was positive for them [against Liverpool]. Many people are interested in how you win and how you get positive results and there are some that don't care about that, both points of view are respected.

Asked how he thought Allardyce would set his team up at St Mary's, Pochettino replied: "I think West Ham are going to be very direct, very aggressive and play the long ball to try and keep us in our half.

"There were many times during the game against Liverpool when this was effective for them - we have to take into account that their players are very tall and aggressive, very physical.

"We have to try and impose our brand of football, be dynamic and keep going forward. We also need to be aware that we will suffer against them when we don't have the ball."

Both Southampton and West Ham were promoted to the Premier League last season, alongside npower Championship winners Reading.

But while the Royals, now managed by Adkins, are marooned at the foot of the table, it has been Saints and West Ham who have impressed - with both sitting on 37 points.

West Ham midfielder Gary O'Neil suggested earlier this week that the collective top-flight experience among the players and staff at Upton Park meant surviving, and thriving, in the Premier League was an easier challenge than it might have been.

Pochettino dismissed that line of thought, with both himself and many of his players lacking previous Premier League experience, citing former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola as a prime example of an individual who made an immediate impact despite very little involvement.

He said: "Football is not an exact science, you can't really just count on experience, there are other factors like playing well and having the right attitude.

"For example, what experience did Guardiola have when he started at Barcelona? None. He had trained in the fourth division for one year and then after four years [at Barcelona] he had won 16 trophies.

"Supposedly he is one of the best managers at the moment and has signed for Bayern Munich, there are many great managers who have managed for a long time but they can take over a new team and have a bad campaign.

"Experience does count for something in football but there are many more things going on behind closed doors that determine whether a team is successful or not."

Saints, who could move into the top 10 with a win on tomorrow, will be buoyed going into the weekend with the news that club captain Adam Lallana has penned a new five-year contract.

He joins the likes of Rickie Lambert, Morgan Schneiderlin and Jason Puncheon in committing his future to Southampton in recent months.

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