Pochettino’s pleased to see Southampton’s success as he returns to St Mary’s with Spurs

Mauricio Pochettino is delighted to see Southampton doing so well as he prepares to return to his former club with Tottenham on Saturday.

The Argentine led the Saints to their best ever Premier League finish last season, securing eighth place, but Ronald Koeman’s current side are set to eclipse that feat as they battle Liverpool and Spurs for fifth spot.

It might be a little embarrassing for Pochettino if his old club finishes above his current one, but the 43-year-old says he only has fond memories of his time on the south coast.

He is proud of the job he did at St Mary’s and is pleased to see them continuing their impressive progress.

“The most import thing you need to understand is I’m happy Southampton is at the top, playing very well, and I’m happy for the people in Southampton,” said Pochettino.

“It was tough when we arrived because the people loved Nigel Adkins and it was difficult. But it wasn’t my fault I arrived at Southampton because the president offered the job!

“Southampton was in a position on the bottom and was the team with the most goals conceded in the Premier League. We changed a lot of things and we did a fantastic job because the players were fantastic and the philosophy of the club was very good.

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“It’s tough. You need a bit of luck to settle and for the players to adapt to your philosophy - it’s tough when you arrive at a new club.

“We finished eighth in the table last season. We played very well and it was the end of a five-year project with Nicola Cortese and Markus Liebherr.

“We stabilised the club in the Premier League in the top 10, and I’m very happy it was good for Southampton because I love the people of Southampton and the players.

“It’s a very good thing and, with Koeman, they continue to develop the project - a new project, and it’s a fantastic job and he deserves the prizes.

“It’s always difficult when you arrive at a new club so Koeman deserves lot of credit. He’s had a fantastic season and done a great job.”

Pochettino admits he is unsure what reaction to expect from the home supporters at St Mary’s, having quit the Saints for Spurs after one and a half years in the job.

“I don’t expect nothing special,” he said. “It’s up to the Southampton supporters what will happen on Saturday. It won’t stop me loving the people at the club because I enjoyed those one and a half years a lot. It was one of the best periods of my life, for me and my family, and I always love Southampton in my life.

“When you take that decision [to leave] or the club takes that decision, you need to look and move forward.

“I’m happy that Southampton is on the top, very happy. But this is a different project and one season of transition. I have a four-year contract left and we try to build a good team and a strong team to try and fight for the top four next season.”

Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs