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Fan Focus: Talking Saints v SAFC With The Ugly Inside

This week we head down to Southampton in search of three points, and as such we caught up with our friends over at The Ugly Inside to get their thoughts ahead of tomorrow's game at St Mary's Stadium.

Another managerial change and some more big players leaving this summer - the fact that no one is predicting you to struggle shows just how well thought of and how well run you are. Everyone just expects Southampton to deal with it and keep improving, like you have done the past few years. Are we right to think that though? How do you see the season going?

We now have the foundations in place to be able to cope with the loss of a player or two - the trick is to know what a player is worth and when you get an offer far in excess of that to sell him and use the money to strengthen the squad and keep repeating the process. If we keep to this strategy then there is no need to worry that we cannot continue to move forward, the problem is managing fans expectations and to keep moving up a place year on year is going to be difficult.

The biggest change this season has came in the dugout, with the arrival of Claude Puel. What do you think of the appointment and do you think losing Koeman is/will be a bigger blow than losing Pochettino?

I think Koeman was a made in heaven match for Saints and I don't think he is quite happy in himself that he made the move as it was not for the right reasons. Puel is a big change as he has altered the way we play a little and it might take time to adapt. On the face of it though Puel was the right appointment, Saints go for managers who have experience in doing the job that Saints want and that is looking for top six finishes and Europa League qualification.

You can understand Sadio Mane's reasons for leaving and Victor Wanyama had wanted a way for a while. Graziano Pelle's move to China came as a big shock though and reminded me of when we lost Asamoah Gyan due to him chasing the coin over in the UAE. What did the fans make of Pelle's move? Had there been rumblings of something like this or was it totally out of the blue?

It was generally accepted that Pelle would leave at the end of the season - he was expected to go back to Italy to finish his career. We hoped to get about £4 million for him and indeed we signed his replacement last January in Charlie Austin, but the big shock is where he went and the fact that we got £13 million for him. Ironically, a section of the support never warmed to him and verbally slagged him off at games - they are now the ones moaning we let him go.

The Southampton youth conveyor belt is always, quite rightly, lauded as producing great talent. Was there any young players impressing in pre season?

The real problem Saints have at the moment is that the youngsters who are at an age where they should be breaking through have done so a few years ago, like James Ward Prowse.

We do have a few 17/18 year olds who might make the jump up in the next year or so, but perhaps not this season.

Which Saints player do you see causing us the most problems?

Dusan Tadic and Nathan Redmond are two that have started well and can caused teams problems, I think they could be the key on Saturday.

On that note, are there any Sunderland players that worry you?

Jermaine Defoe is the one that I fear the most in the Sunderland line up - he has a knack of scoring goals against us.

How do you think you'll line up and approach the game?

Our tactic will be to get the full backs up the line to support the attack and when defending to get the two wide attackers back to support the full backs. We will pass the ball and keep possession a lot, rather than be more direct.

Let's have a prediction then

I will go for 3-1 Southampton win this year.

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