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Poch: The goals will come soon
7:00am Friday 20th September 2013 in Sport
Mauricio Pochettino could have been forgiven a wry smile as he was quizzed over Saints’ goal shy start to the season.
Things change so quickly in the world of football and in these days – more than ever before – every kick is ruminated over.
Saints spent much of last Sunday afternoon battering West Ham at St Mary’s, but failed to capitalise on any of their many chances, in part thanks to the heroics of Jussi Jaaskelainen.
Pochettino found himself fielding questions over his side’s lack of goals this season – just two in the league in four games so far, and none from open play – and the perceived wisdom that Rickie Lambert has been somehow distracted by his England call-up, even if those who have watched his all-round displays for Saints would surely disagree.
But the Saints manager knows that it would have taken very little for the conversations to be very different.
“The equilibrium and the balance is already there,” he said of his side.
“We are the team with the second highest amount of possession in the league so we are having a really good balance between the attack and defence.
“What we need to do is stop making heroes out of all the goalkeepers that come and visit us and start scoring goals. I’m pretty sure that will happen sooner or later because it’s a matter of luck and it’s a matter of time.
“If the game against West Ham had finished 3-0 we would be talking about a completely different subject.
“If you analyse the overall run of the game we created so many chances that should have been goals. Instead we made a hero out of the visiting goalkeeper, but I’m pretty sure that won’t happen again.”
Lambert’s brilliance for Saints over four glorious and goal-laden seasons has not exactly been a secret in these parts, but it appears his England appearances have pricked the consciousness of the nation. However, with just one goal to his name for Saints this season – a penalty – there are people believing England has proved to be some sort of distraction for Lambert.
Pochettino, though, is backing his man.
“I don’t think so, he’s very much 100 per cent focussed. He’s focussed on scoring goals,” said the Saints chief.
“After the game against West Ham he was angry, as any striker would be, because he didn’t score a goal to get the win for the team.
“But he’s happy in the sense that the team created chances and he’s on the right path to scoring goals.
“I don’t think he needs rest. The bread and butter of any striker is to score goals and that hasn’t been happening so he’s concerned about that, but he’s on the up and creating chances and the team is on a good run.
“Defensively the team has been solid at the back and offensively as well the team has been good. So, overall, we are keeping a good run and are looking to score the goals eventually.”
Saints will have a tough job against table topping Liverpool this weekend, and in-form striker Daniel Sturridge, but it’s the kind of game the club have thrived on under Pochettino.
They have the added boost of both Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho being unavailable for the Reds.
“We are very much aware that Sturridge is an awesome threat who has started off the season quite well,” admitted Pochettino.“He can change the game on his own.
“Our main concern is not just him but blocking the connections that can feed him the ball, through Gerrard or any midfield players through to the strikers.
“We know that Coutinho will probably be out but we need to take care of that midfield to see that the balls do not go through to Sturridge.”
Pochettino is trying to keep his players focussed, knowing a few more goals will turn a decent start into an exceptional one.
“I’m a positive person and I really believe that wins will come and the goals will start pouring in,” he insisted. “What we need to do is give confidence to our strikers to see they are going to score sooner or later.
“We need to continue working because we’re on a good run. I don’t see a reason to be alarmed, we just need to keep going and things will start happening.
“We need to be calm about it because if you look at the game against West Ham we had many chances to win.
“We need to keep on that path – keep on creating chances and the games will be won by us.”
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