Saints chief wary of Bale threat
[.[views].], BY ClubCall
Mauricio Pochettino claims Gareth Bale is an "amazing player" who would not have left for Tottenham had he been in charge at the club.
The Wales international's star may have grown at White Hart Lane but it was on the south coast that he honed his talent.
Having graduated from Saints' academy, Bale progressed to the first-team aged 16 and impressed enough in the second tier to earn a move to Tottenham at the end of his maiden season.
The 23-year-old has become one of the world's best since moving to north London in 2007 and this week picked up a clean sweep of gongs for the season's standout player.
Saints face the unenviable task of attempting to shackle Bale tomorrow and Pochettino, a former team-mate of Diego Maradona and Gabriel Batistuta, has been impressed by his form.
"He is a very decisive player - an amazing player because of his speed, strength and goalscoring abilities," the Southampton manager said.
"He has shown that throughout the season this year so I rate him very highly.
"Our collective game needs to be very strong tomorrow. We can't just focus on Gareth Bale - there are other players in that team that can raise their game.
"In a collective sense, we need to be very focused and mentally ready as we need to be in every single game that we play in the Premier League.
"We always need to be mentally focused as you never know."