(Reuters) – Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino said on Tuesday he sympathised with former club Southampton, who sacked coach Mark Hughes on Monday, but he is confident the south-coast side have the resources to overcome their Premier League struggles.
Hughes was sacked eight months into his Southampton tenure with the team lying 18th in the league with nine points from 14 games going into Wednesday’s meeting with their old Argentine boss at Tottenham’s temporary Wembley home.
“Always my affection is going to be there with my first club in England. It had a massive impact in my life and I’m grateful to Southampton,” Pochettino, who left Southampton in 2014, told a news conference on Tuesday.
“I think they have the tools to lift from that situation and I always wish the best for them but tomorrow we compete and we need to win the three points.”
Southampton will be led by first team assistant coach and former goalkeeper Kelvin Davis at Wembley, with former RB Leipzig boss Ralph Hasenhuettl the favourite to take charge on a permanent basis.
“Kelvin was my first captain, he has a great personality and is a great character, and it is so nice to face him tomorrow… but it will be a very tough 90 minutes for both sides,” Pochettino said.
Tottenham right back Kieran Trippier has recovered from a groin injury and is available for selection.
Pochettino said he had not spoken with midfielder Eric Dier, whose goal celebration in his side’s 4-2 defeat by Arsenal on Sunday had sparked angry scenes on the touchline leading to a Football Association charge for both sides.
“It is sensible not to talk too much because it is under investigation.
“If we do something wrong, normally you must pay.”
Tottenham sit fifth in the table with 30 points.
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Ian Chadband)