Mauricio Pellegrino believes Southampton’s upcoming run of matches is an “amazing challenge” as they battle to improve their hopes of maintaining their Premier League status.
The Saints travel to Turf Moor on Saturday before hosting fellow strugglers Stoke and a visit to St James’ Park to face Newcastle in a series of fixtures which could prove make or break and Pellegrino has called on his squad to maintain their focus.
Southampton, who have picked up only one league win from their past 14 fixtures, sit in the relegation zone but only five points away from Bournemouth in 10th with 11 games remaining in the campaign.
When asked whether he was excited by the period of matches ahead, Pellegrino said: “It is an amazing challenge for us.
“It is an amazing opportunity in all different aspects but we have to think about one week at a time. Now we have to be fully focused on this game [Burnley] and after we will see.”
Pellegrino led his side to the FA Cup quarter-finals with a 2-1 victory over West Brom last Saturday and the Argentinian manager is determined to transfer the momentum into their league encounters and expects a stern test against Sean Dyche’s out of form side.
“Yes – for sure. Of course. Every victory helps us to believe in our model and way [of playing],” Pellegrino said.
“It was important for us to move forward but every single game you have to be fully focused and really well prepared to keep going in a positive way.
“Burnley, obviously, in some aspects they are similar but other parts they are really strong and different. It is a really difficult team at home.
“Every single game is really tight when you play a team that is really organised. They are a really competitive team.”
Burnley are without a victory in 11 matches in all competitions but Pellegrino doesn’t expect the Clarets, who won the reverse fixture, to deviate from their style of play which proved so successful in the opening part of the season – where they reached as high as fourth in December.
Pellegrino said: “I expect a really tight game. They will not change too much their style, trying to compete right until the end, and we try and play our style on the pitch and try to attack, manage the game and dominate.
“The key will be which team is the stronger mentally, don’t make too many mistakes and are clinical in the small situations [available].”