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City boss backs Poch for success
Manuel Pellegrini has backed Mauricio Pochettino to steer Saints through their current rough patch.
The Manchester City boss, who brings his side to St Mary’s this afternoon, came up against Pochettino numerous times when the two were managing in Spain.
And he is confident the Saints man to turn around the club’s recent form which occurred after a flying start to the season.
He said: “I know him very well. He is a very good manager and I think he is doing a great job with Southampton - he also did in Spain.
“I am sure we are playing against a strong team.
“I think playing against a team as good as Southampton, when they have lost the last three games, will be more difficult for us.
“I don't know what the reaction of Southampton will be. “They are a young team, and they have a young manager.
“But he knows perfectly how he must manage this situation.”
City kickstarted their away campaign in the top flight with victory over West Brom in midweek.
Prior to the West Brom result, City – who are third, six points behind Arsenal – had won only one of six Premier League away games this season, losing four of them.
Beating Albion was certainly a boost ahead of the Saints trip, although Pellegrini has stressed that even prior to the match at The Hawthorns, there had been no issues with his players’ confidence regarding their ability to secure victories on the road.
“I think that before the West Brom game, we didn't have any problems psychologically about winning away,” the Chilean said.
“Maybe you think there is a different reason, but I was absolutely sure it was just about the points - not tactical problems, and I am also sure the squad had the confidence.
“We were sure we were going to start winning. So then that (West Brom) was first, and now we must repeat it tomorrow.”
Southampton beat City 3-1 at St Mary's shortly after Pochettino’s appointment last season, and so City know they must be wary.
Pellegrini is optimistic City captain Vincent Kompany will be fine to keep his place in the team for today’s match.
The Belgium defender, who has been sidelined by a thigh problem, made his first appearance since October 5 on Wednesday when he played for the whole of the West Brom contest.
Regarding Kompany, Pellegrini said: “We will see if he can play two matches in less than three days. But he is okay.
“It is not an easy decision. But I think he finished the last game without any problem.
“We will wait to see that he has made the perfect recovery and I will decide. But I don't think it is a great risk for him to play another game.”
Striker Stevan Jovetic, defender Matija Nastasic and playmaker David Silva will all miss out due to their calf injuries, but Pellegrini has indicated the latter of the trio could be involved in Tuesday's Champions League match at Bayern Munich.
The manager once again would not confirm whether Costel Pantilimon would be retained in goal or Joe Hart brought back in his place.
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