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Poch can take Saints to next level - Lallana
Since making his first-team debut in 2006, the academy product, who has risen right through the ranks to become captain, has worked under seven different ‘permanent’ bosses at St Mary’s.
Lallana, ahead of tomorrow’s home clash with Swansea, sat down and spoke at length this week about the current man in charge, and the 25-year-old was effusive in his praise for Pochettino.
The Argentine might only have been at the helm for a little under nine months now, but in that time it appears he has already made a significant impression on his squad.
Lallana believes it is inevitable Pochettino will eventually become linked with some of the biggest managerial jobs in the country, while he says that he “definitely” has the ability to take charge of a club like Manchester United.
But, while the midfielder does believe Pochettino will eventually end up as the manager of one of the best sides in England, he doesn’t think he will need to leave St Mary’s to do that.
“That’s what we want to achieve in the future. We want, we believe, and we feel that Southampton could be the big club, and hopefully the manager will stay for a long time,” said Lallana.
“It’s a big club anyway at the minute, but if it can become a bigger club under his management that would be perfect.”
Lallana added: “He’s a talented manager and I think he was linked with a number of jobs before he took this job, but knowing the manager he’s a passionate manager and he’ll want to complete his job that he’s started here. He’s very loyal, you can tell that by working with him.
“The club’s privileged to have him here, but you can tell he’s really enjoying it. He’s really enthusiastic about working, and that kind of attitude is rubbing off on all his players.”
While Pochettino does not yet address the media in English – at least not when the tapes and cameras are on – he has always spoken that language with the Saints players, with Lallana reiterating that communication has never been a problem.
He also revealed that Pochettino, although quite a charismatic and dynamic character, is actually very level-headed when he addresses his team.
“He’s very calm. He’s very calm at half-time, there’s never anything too explosive,” said Lallana. “It’s organised and structured and that’s what you want as a player.”
In terms of his own development under Pochettino, Lallana believes he has grown enormously.
“He’s taught me a lot in such a short space of time, on and off the pitch,” he said.
“It’s just little things that are quite hard to explain, but, how hard he works, it just rubs off on his players.
“He demands hard work from us, and just the attitude of the lads, how they want to work hard for the manager. That’s something that you can’t just install.
“It’s kind of a respect thing, and it’s just a really good atmosphere going into work every day.”
What is it that generates that respect, though?
“It’s a bit of the aura and presence he has, but I mean last season he had a chance to put a few of his methods of training across, but I don’t think he wanted to change everything because it was midway through a season, but this season we obviously went away for three weeks in pre-season and I think he’s 100 per cent got his way, his training methods, the way he wants us to play, on and off the field, different tweaks that he believes are better for the club, and the lads are just really enjoying it,” said Lallana.
“Training’s a good place to go and the lads have got good mentalities and are in really good physical shape and we’re just really enjoying our football at the minute.”
While Saints have started the season strongly, marching into the weekend in sixth position, Lallana believes they have only just scratched the surface of what they can achieve.
“I still think there’s a long way we can go, there’s only been six games in the season and, obviously, (Dani) Osvaldo’s not been here too long, (Victor) Wanyama and Dejan (Lovren) have only been here briefly into pre-season, so there’s still a long way to go,” said the skipper, who is not quite ready to join in with some of his colleagues in talking about Champions League ambitions.
“We just quietly want to go about our business and just take it game by game, and hopefully have a good cup run as well. I think we’ve got a squad where we could do well in the domestic cups, and keep doing well in the league. We’ve just got to take it each step at a time.”
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