sport

Pochettino can't set targets

Southampton boss Mauricio Pochettino admits he cannot set himself goals for next season until he knows whether he is keeping his top players.

The likes of captain Adam Lallana and left-back Luke Shaw - who are both hoping to go to the World Cup finals with England - are being strongly linked with moves away from St Mary's this summer.

Pochettino is adamant that he does not want any of his star turns to leave, but admits his goals are unclear until he knows what his squad will be.

"Once you know exactly what team you are going to have, the team designed in your frame, only then can you set yourself goals for next season," said the Argentine.

"That will need to be spoken about at the beginning of next season.

"The club is ambitious to still go further - but I cannot set any goals until I know what my team is going to be."

Planning

Despite the speculation surrounding his big names, Pochettino insists preparations are already well under way.

"We have been working already with the planning for next season, looking already at pre-season, looking at the holidays, what holidays are given, and looking at what programmes we are going to provide for the players," he said.

"It's clear that it's going to be a very long summer so we are going to have enough time to work with the pre-season planning. We are already doing that and we are already looking towards the future.

"Our plans are to play the last game and then the players who will be called up for the World Cup will be released and be able to travel with their national sides or given some time to rest - that depends on them.

"I think overall it's been a very long season and it's been demanding physically and mentally. I think a lot of these players deserve a rest.

"Football is something that never stops, football just continues. There's no Christmas break as well.

"I think it's been quite demanding for all these players and I think they should be given some time to recover and to rest."