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Southampton may challenge for the Champions League - but not just yet

An impressive start to the season has been made but Swansea City defender tells them they're more top 10, not top four.

Swansea City defender Angel Rangel seemed to want to quieten talk for Southampton and their fans over the possibility of them pushing for European football this season after the 2-0 Swans defeat on the South coast at the weekend.

An article in this morning’s papers suggested they should be more concerned about avoiding relegation, despite the Saints start to the season. Rangel, as quoted by The Mirror, said: ‘I’ve seen them before and they have impressed me, but they didn’t impress at all on Sunday.

‘Sure, they have 14 points and are contenders for the top 10. They have had a good start and that gives confidence for the rest of the season. When you see you only need 40 points to stay up, then they are almost halfway there already.’

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Rangel seems to be implying that at first Southampton shouldn’t be getting too ahead of themselves in only their second season in the top flight since their last promotion. Yet the Saints seem to be showing no signs of second-season syndrome and given their ambition in the transfer market, coupled with the fact they have the strongest defence in the league so far.

Currently sitting in fourth place in the Premier League at an early stage in the season, there are always going to be those who get carried away, there is always a surprise package early doors. Yet this doesn’t feel like so much of a surprise package, as Southampton under Pochettino last season claimed some major scalps and played some very attractive yet disciplined football.

The surprise wouldn’t be that Southampton kept up a stringent defence, and continued to play good football. The surprise would be that the sides expected to occupy European places come May won’t have done the job required.

The thing that Rangel picked up on there – albeit not in a complimentary manner – was the evaluation that Southampton were second best and managed to win, which is a good sign for any side that wants to challenge towards the top end of the table.

But given the start they have made, they may well surprise a few sides this season with how well they do, but to go from getting promoted to the Premiership to Champions League qualification seems like an almighty task. Highly unlikely, but I doubt they’re going to be scrapping near the bottom come May.

image: © ingythewingy

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