Claudio Ranieri expects a big test for his title chasing Leicester City side when Saints visit the King Power Stadium on Sunday
The Italian says he is aware of the threats posed by Ronald Koeman’s team, but has urged his side to concentrate on themselves and continue to focus on performances as they aim to at least maintain their current five point lead at the top of the Barclays Premier League table.
Ranieri is taking nothing for granted ahead of Sunday’s game and believes it will be a contest between two evenly matched teams.
“Southampton play the same style (as Leicester),” he told reporters. “They keep possession of the ball but they put the long ball to Pellè, they play the counter-attack as well as us.
“They want to fight to achieve Europe and it’s a very good team with Pellè up front, Long, Mané and Tadić with tall players behind."
Leicester recovered from 2-0 down to take a draw at St Mary’s in October, and Ranieri believes there’s more than one factor behind their continued success.
“It’s difficult to say what is the key,” he mused. “There are so many keys because it’s an extraordinary season with some exceptional moments.
“I don’t know what is the true key. Determination is another one of our keys.
“We conceded two goals in the first match from a corner. They are very tall, taller than us and it will be a difficult match, but I hope our supporters will help us through the match to a good performance.”
The Foxes could have their lead at the top reduced by the time Saints visit them on Sunday, but Ranieri is remaining calm.
“We know we are on a good run and that everybody wants to beat us but we know everything is in our hands and we want to continue,” he said.
“We know we are five points (clear) but maybe it will be three, two, one points, it’s not important. What’s important is coming off the pitch with a performance, after this it’s not important with the result.”