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Jan 22, 2013

Pochettino praises performance

Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino wants his players to take confidence from their second-half performance against Manchester United.

Despite losing 2-1, Pochettino's side received major praise from Sir Alex Ferguson who described Saints' second-half performance as the best he had seen from a visiting team all season.

Pochettino's men played expansive attacking football for the second 45 at Old Trafford and that is something the 40-year-old Argentinean will want to see against Wigan at the weekend.

"I am not happy with the way we played in the first half. That is not how we wanted to play. But I am very proud and happy with the way we played in the second," he said. "Our performance in the second half is going to give my players confidence to play on like that in the future."

Tomorrows match will be the first time Southampton have faced Wigan away from home. A win for Pochettino's men will see them go six points clear of the Latics.

Wednesday's defeat at leaders United followed a 0-0 draw at home to fifth-placed Everton in Pochettino's first game in charge.

Wigan present a different challenge as they are currently languishing in the relegation zone but the former Espanyol coach, who took his players on a training camp in Barcelona last week, still expects a tough challenge.

"All games have their complexity and difficulty," he said. "But in any game, where you have a chance of getting the three points you must keep that mentality and go for the win."

Southampton skipper Adam Lallana, who could make his first start in almost two months against Wigan, echoed the comments of his manager and praised Latics' boss Roberto Martinez.

"They taught us a bit of a footballing lesson," Lallana said of the 2-0 defeat Wigan inflicted on Southampton in August.

"They've got a great squad and a great manager - he's kept them in the league for four or five years now and they've always been underdogs and written off. It's going to be a tough game."

Lallana was given the armband at St Mary's by Adkins but has only featured as a second-half substitute at Old Trafford since Pochettino was appointed due to a knee ligament injury.

The 24-year-old said he was in a similar position when Adkins first took charge but is pleased to be back so early after suffering what could have been a long-term problem.

"I remember when Adkins first came to the club I was on the sidelines as well," he told the Southern Daily Echo.

"It's almost like the first day at school again. I'm lucky I was only out six or seven weeks, not six or seven months. I was going to be patient, but I felt great and really good (against United)."

Another player who will be raring to play at the DW Stadium is new defensive signing Vegard Forren.

The Norway international signed from Molde on the same day Pochettino was named as manager but did not feature in midweek.

The club are believed to have fought off interest from the likes of Liverpool, Everton and Fulham to sign Forren but Pochettino has said the 24-year-old will have to remain patient before he is given a chance in the first team.

"He arrived with the team after being on holiday so he needs to go through an adaptation period to be able to play," Pochettino said.

"Nonetheless, he will have to earn his place because other players are doing very well."

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