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 By PA Sport

Southampton not out for EFL Cup revenge against Man United - Puel

Southampton manager Claude Puel says the club's midweek Premier League clash against Manchester United should not be billed as a revenge mission following their EFL Cup final defeat in February.

Southampton welcome Jose Mourinho's men to St Mary's on Wednesday in a rematch of their five-goal thriller at Wembley, when United went on to win 3-2.

With a Europa League final on the horizon, Mourinho could make changes following the 2-1 defeat at Tottenham on Sunday.

However, Puel dismissed the notion that Wednesday's encounter presents the ideal time to face United, while insisting his side are not out to make up for their Wembley heartbreak.

"No, no it's just another game,'' Puel said. "It's been a long time since the [EFL Cup] final against Manchester United, It's a Premier League game, so we cannot just focus about that game. The game is not revenge because it's important to keep a good energy and to enjoy our football and just to focus about this, not anything else.

"This team has great players and a strong squad. For example, [Ander] Herrera, [Henrikh] Mkhitaryan, [Paul] Pogba, and [Marcus] Rashford can all play against us because they were rested for the last game.

Man United fans love winning trophies but they love watching rivals Liverpool lose almost as much.
Manchester United beat Southampton in this season's EFL Cup final.

"In any game, they have a strong team and it will a difficult game against Manchester United, and they will play with a good intensity and try and take points off us.''

Southampton have not registered a Premier League home victory over United since 2003, when James Beattie scored a late winner for Gordon Strachan's side.

Meanwhile, the future of former Lyon boss Puel has come under scrutiny, despite Southampton reaching the EFL Cup final and having the possibility to finish eighth in the Premier League.

Puel, however, would not be drawn into sharing his view on the rumours surrounding his job, claiming that having one of the youngest squads in the Premier League and producing the results they have achieved should justify the work he has done in his first season.

"I cannot be distracted about the speculation,'' he said. "The most important thing is to think about finishing strong in the Premier League. After that, I cannot make comments about speculation.

"I'm on contract, a three-year contract, with a project. I am happy here, with the directors, the staff and the players, but the most important is to continue to improve.

"There's no need to give assurances because it matters about what is on the pitch with the quality. It's the second youngest team in the table and we continue to improve for the future.''

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