Spurs defender Davies admits Southampton are 'rivals now'

St Marys Southampton

The Tottenham man is looking forward to a tough game at St Mary's on Saturday in the battle for European football.

Tottenham fullback Ben Davies has paid credit to Southampton for their impressive season, in an interview with the official Spurs website ahead of their meeting this weekend.

The North Londoners visit the South Coast for the first time under Mauricio Pochettino, who left the Saints in the summer, much to the chagrin of the Southampton faithful. Ronald Koeman has come in at St Mary's and performed a superb job in steadying what was an uncertain ship, leading to an intriguing contest between the two sides come Saturday afternoon.

“I think Southampton have done very well this season,” admitted Davies. “They’ve built a good side there and we realise it’s a tough place to go.

“Looking at the European spots, they’re rivals of ours now and we’re going there knowing they’ve already beaten some difficult teams this season.

“We’ve got to be on the ball and be prepared for everything they throw at us. We need to go out there and play with confidence and I’m sure if we do that we can put on a very good display.”

With Southampton currently in seventh place, one point behind Spurs who are only in sixth because of Liverpool's superior goal difference, there is a little between the teams who continue to chase the Champions League spots. However hopeful those attempts are, the matter of Europa League qualification is something that is desired by some and less favoured by others.

While the Saints may look forward to a first European season for over a decade, Liverpool and Spurs would be mindful that an exerting Europa League campaign could be detrimental to next season's hope of breaking into the Champions League spots.

Currently fifth and sixth place in the league will mean Europa League football, while seventh will be added to that if Arsenal beat Aston Villa in the FA Cup.

Davies could be looking to come in for the on form Danny Rose for Spurs, after the Englishman went off late on in the win over Newcastle with a knock. It would be the former Swansea man's ninth start and a huge opportunity to stake a claim for a regular role in Pochettino's first choice eleven. 

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