Mauricio Pochettino is happy to have a team that goes the distance, a feature which has reaped rewards already this season.
Rickie Lambert’s 90th minute winner at West Bromwich Albion was followed up by José Fonte’s 88th minute equaliser against Sunderland as Saints continued to display their spirit and determination, something which was evident from pre-season.
And this weekend’s trip to Carrow Road serves as a timely reminder of how important that characteristic is. Last season, Artur Boruc saved a last minute penalty to deny Norwich all three points on home soil, and Pochettino hopes that their late shows will yield more success on Saturday.
“It shows that the players are committed and mentally prepared,” he told Saints Player ahead of the trip to Norfolk.
“We’ve had a good pre-season and it’s going to be good to carry on that form during the entire season, so our goal is to carry on our good form throughout the season.”
One factor that Saints will be improve upon in the league is adding more goals to their performances. Taking last season into account, the team haven’t scored more than once in a league match since beating Reading away from home during April.
However, five strikes at Oakwell in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday evening, suggests that goals are not in short supply across the board.
“It’s clear that we’re looking at this season and not the past season, so we’re focusing on the here and now,” Pochetino said.
“We’re very clear that we want to score more goals, we want to win games and win them convincingly, and that’s all the effort that we’re putting in with day-to-day work to improve that aspect.”
Norwich have taken only one point from their opening two games, but Pochettino rates the Canaries and will not be treating a match away from home lightly.
“It’s going to be a complicated game away in their stadium,” he explained. “They have reinforced their squad very well, so we’re expecting a very tough game against them.
“They’re physically a very strong side and a very quick side. They go on the counter-attack very quickly as well which is one of their main strengths .
“They’re very well organised, and they know exactly what they need to do in every single moment of the game, so overall they’re a very tough side playing against them away from home.
“Winning always makes us happy and content, so our goal is basically to play as well as we can to try to get a victory this weekend.”
Pochettino was without Guly do Prado and Jos Hooiveld at Barnsley, but will make a decision on all of his players before travelling to East Anglia.
“There are a couple of players like Guly and Jos who weren’t able to play at Barnsley, and maybe a couple of others who we can’t mention, but hopefully we’ll be able to know from tomorrow which players can come with us.”
The gaffer was relaxed about the last few days of the transfer window and has no immediate plans to strengthen the squad, though conceded that some fringe players may wish to move on to pastures new.
“It’s clear that all footballers want to play and they need to develop their own skills from playing,” he highlighted. “I’m very hopeful that they will be able to find that place because all footballers want to develop their own skills.
“I’m very happy with what we’ve got here, and hopefully we’ll have a very good season this year.”