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Southampton travel to Burnley tomorrow and that means a first appearance at Turf Moor for their manager, former Liverpool defender Mauricio Pellegrino.

Pellegrino made his Liverpool debut in January 2005, just three days before we beat them in the FA Cup but he wasn’t in the squad that night but will be the centre of attention in the away dug out tomorrow.

Before leaving for Burnley, he said: “Burnley will be a really tight game, I would imagine. It’s a really difficult game. It is a team who won a lot of points in the first part of the season and now they have not won in a long period of time, but at home they are really strong because they do not concede too much.

“We can use the home game as experience, which was really close with not many chances. Then, towards the end, we dominated, created chances but couldn’t score. We have been working on how to approach this type of challenge and we will try to do our best.”

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He added: “I think mentally we have to be stronger. Instead of the crowd helping you, they will be against you. All the decisions that we make can influence the referee and the crowd, so we have to be really focused. We have to be stronger in all different aspects, but I think we are ready.”

Sean Dyche will expect Burnley to be ready after spending a few days in Portugal since we last played at Swansea two weeks ago. “We’ve managed to get a few days away with the players and that’s been important,” he said.

“It’s rare, with international breaks, other than pre-season, that we can get the whole squad away together for a period of time. Everyone came along and that includes the long term injured, and we used the time wisely.

“It’s also helped the pitches here at Barnfield to breath. We’ve got great pitches now, but they’ve taken a bit of a battering with the weather and struggled over the past month to keep up to speed with ourselves. So there were a number of different factors in getting away and it was a healthy balance between work and rest and hopefully that brings a feel to the next performance.

“We’ve had a good week’s training at Barnfield now and we’re all thirsty for that next game to come back around and the challenge that’s directly in front of us.”

Burnley remain in seventh place but Southampton are now in the bottom three in the Premier League. The manager said of that: “They are certainly a side who, over the past few years, have been recognised as a regular Premier League outfit, but it shows you this season how demanding the league is. It’s not just Southampton, but also a number of established top flight teams who are having this challenge.

“It’s a very tough division and we haven’t won in ten; that’s a fact. Now we have to take on the challenge and get back to winning ways, however they come around. Our performances have not really dipped, other than Swansea, and it’s about believing in those recent solid performances and getting what we want.

“There’s no sweeping anything under the carpet here, but there have been some testing circumstances, including playing five of the top six. It’s fine margins, but the one thing I know is the group are slowly but surely getting back to full fitness and, as that happens, their belief, let alone my belief heightens because earlier in the season, when we were all fit, we showed we are a really strong outfit.”

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