Pochettino focused on top four

first_img Pochettino takes his sixth-placed Spurs, who are seven points adrift of fourth-placed United, to his former club Southampton for the first time on Saturday, with the battle for European football high on the agenda. If Arsenal beat Aston Villa in the FA Cup final at Wembley on May 30, the seventh-placed team in the Premier League will qualify for the Europa League. “This season realistically it’s very difficult to reach the top four,” Pochettino said. “(But) never is it a problem when you have the possibility to play in Europe. “In football you need to try and take the positive result and always win. “If you achieve the Europa League it might not be the dream of the club or the supporters but you need to play it because it is good for the financial side of the club. “The most important thing is to be ambitious or to understand we need to try and build a strong team for next season to fight for the top four. “It’s very difficult to manage the Europa League with the Premier League and both cups. You spend a lot of energy when you play in the Europa League and it’s not easy, but you never know. Pochettino has bemoaned the impact playing on Thursday nights across Europe has had on his side’s Premier League campaign, while looking ruefully at Manchester United’s top-four march having finished seventh last term. Liverpool reached Europe’s elite competition after finishing second last term when without a continental distraction and this term have struggled to cope with the dual focus. “It’s true the experience last season with Liverpool and now with Manchester United, I think it’s a clear example that maybe you will have the opportunity to stay closer to reaching the top four if you only are focused on the Premier League and the cups.” Pochettino dismissed the prospect of goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, who could return after missing three matches with a knee injury, seeking a move if Spurs miss out on the top four this term. “Hugo wants to play the Champions League here for Tottenham and I think this is a rumour and nothing true,” added the Spurs boss, whose only definite absentee is Kyle Walker. “Hugo is very happy here and wants to reach the Champions League with Tottenham. This is his dream.” Pochettino is looking forward to returning to St Mary’s with Spurs after leaving Southampton last summer. The Argentine headed a host of departures – including key players and the backroom staff – leaving successor Ronald Koeman to rebuild. “We finished last season eighth in the table,” said Pochettino, recalling his time at Southampton. “We played very well and it was the end the project of five years with Nicola Cortese and Markus Liebherr. “We stabilised the club in the Premier League and top 10 and I’m very happy it was good for Southampton because I love the people of Southampton, the players. “Koeman has continued to develop the project, or a new project, and it’s a fantastic job and he deserves the praise.” Pochettino is uncertain what reception to expect. “I don’t expect nothing special,” he said. “I love the people at the club, the players, because in one-and-a-half years I enjoyed a lot because it was one of the best periods of my life.” Press Association Manager Mauricio Pochettino has admitted missing out on European football could aid Tottenham’s bid to qualify for the Champions League next season. last_img read more

Liverpool leave it late again to beat Southampton

first_imgShare on: WhatsApp That was also the Irishman’s 50th Premier League goal and he should have had 51 shortly after when he failed to connect with another dangerous Bertrand cross and Virgil van Dijk nearly turned the ball into his own net against his old club.Keita has failed to live up to expectations since his £53 million move from RB Leipzig last summer, but the Senegalese could hardly have picked a better moment to score his first goal for the club nine minutes before the break.Southampton were left angry that Salah was not flagged offside in the build-up, but the ball eventually fell for Trent Alexander-Arnold and his in-swinging cross was met too powerfully with his head by Keita for Gunn to keep out.Liverpool had far more control of the game after the break, but had to wait until 10 minutes from time for the crucial goal and it came on the counter-attack from a Southampton corner.Salah latched onto Henderson’s headed pass and ran from inside his own half before curling in his first goal in nine games from just outside the box.Henderson had been left on the bench from the start by Klopp, but the Liverpool captain made his presence felt as a substitute as he then burst into the box to finish off Roberto Firmino’s low cross to seal a vital three points. Southampton, United Kingdom | AFP | Liverpool needed more late goals to move top of the Premier League once more as Mohamed Salah and Jordan Henderson struck in the final 10 minutes to earn a 3-1 victory at Southampton on Friday.Jurgen Klopp’s men had to come from behind at St. Mary’s after Shane Long’s early opener.However, Naby Keita’s first goal for the club brought the visitors level before Salah and Henderson’s strikes took Liverpool two points clear of Manchester City, who still have a game in hand.The league leaders also needed late goals to beat Fulham and Tottenham in their last two games, but they refuse to give up the chase of a City side eyeing history with a quadruple of trophies.Southampton started the evening just five points above the relegation zone at the other end of the table, but had won their past two games as part of a general upturn in form since Ralph Hasenhuttl took charge in December.And the hosts looked more like the side going for the title in the early stages as they went in front on nine minutes.Ryan Bertrand’s cross picked out the run of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg into the box and his flick-on looped over Andy Robertson for Long to control and score just his fourth goal in his last 50 Premier League appearances.center_img Mohammed Salah scores for Liverpoollast_img read more

South African banks ‘healthy, resilient’

first_img28 May 2013 The total assets of South Africa’s banks increased by 6.9% in 2012 as the sector “continued on a good growth trajectory while displaying increased signs of resilience”, the Reserve Bank said in its bank supervision report for 2012 on Monday. Gross loans and advances, making up around 74% of the banking sector’s assets, increased by 9.2% to R2 753-billion for the year to end December. According to the report, healthy levels of capitalisation and strong levels of liquidity were evidence of the resilience of South Africa’s banking system, whose average capital adequacy ratio, at 15.9%, was well above the minimum requirement of 9.5%. The average liquid assets held by the country’s banks expressed as a percentage of required liquid assets was 198.7% in December 2012, up from 193.5% in December 2011. “In addition to the improving levels of capital and liquidity, credit risk as the biggest risk area in the banking system has been declining and remained well managed,” the Reserve Bank said. “Total impaired advances declined 5.1% from R118.1-billion as at December 2011 to R112.1-billion as at December 2012.” The report also found that rates of growth in unsecured lending had begun to slow down, with total unsecured credit exposures – including revolving credit facilities and overdrafts – increasing by about 24% from R364-billion in March 2012 to R453-billion in March 2013. “Measured against the total banking assets of R3..6-trillion, banks’ exposure to unsecured loans does not pose a systemic risk to the stability of the banking system,” the Bank said. The report covered the transition from the Basel II to the Basel III framework, effective from January 2013, which revised banks’ capital and liquidity standards worldwide following the 2008-09 global financial crisis. South Africa is among the first 10 regulatory authorities to have implemented Basel III on schedule. SAinfo reporterlast_img read more