Southampton boss Mauricio Pochettino says his team will be coming up against “a much more aggressive” Crystal Palace side when they face off at Selhurst Park this afternoon.
The Saints were comfortable 2-0 winners when the clubs met at St Mary’s Stadium in September last year, but Pochettino is well aware of the improvements that have been made at Palace under the guidance of Tony Pulis.
The Eagles have lost just twice at Selhurst Park since the Welshman took charge – and Pochettino knows his players will need to be on their game in order to get a result today.
“It’s clear that with their change of manager they have become a much more aggressive side,” the Argentine told Saints Player.
“We’ve reviewed a lot of the home games that they’ve played recently and they’ve shown they are a very aggressive, physical side. They use a lot of long balls so we’re going to have to be aware of that.
“It’s important that we balance out their desire to win with our own desire to win. We have to be at 120 per cent to match their aggressiveness and their need for points.
“If we’re able to do that, I think we’ll have a good chance of winning the game.”
Southampton had 13 first team players away on international duty in midweek – 18 if you count under-19 and under-21 caps – and Pochettino was delighted to see his players get recognition for the Premier League exploits.
“I always enjoy watching my players when they play for their national sides,” he added. “It was really great to see Luke [Shaw]’s England debut, and Adam [Lallana] made a good contribution in the second half. I was very pleased with their performances on Wednesday.
“But it’s always a difficult moment when you have a lot of players away. All of the players that have been away on international duty might have a little bit of fatigue, especially those who have travelled long distances like Maya Yoshida and Victor Wanyama.”