Saints taking the cup seriously

15 February 2018 12:31:31 EST

Southampton boss Mauricio Pellegrino says that, though he may rest some players in the FA Cup this weekend, he is taking the competition seriously.

His team travel to West Brom in the FA Cup fifth round on Saturday with a place in the quarter-finals at stake.

Both sides at the Hawthorns are in the bottom three in the Premier League with the Baggies in the most trouble, bottom of the league seven points off safety.

Every single game will be crucial, but you can't think about the big picture all of the time.

Mauricio Pellegrino

Saints are third from bottom just a point behind three teams immediately above them.

So Premier League survival will not be too far from minds at the weekend. However, a place in the last eight of the cup, one game away from a semi-final at Wembley is up for grabs and Pellegrino says the cup is a good distraction from the league and can help in their relegation fight.

He told a press conference ahead of Saturday's cup tie: "We want to move forward to the next round and we want it to help us to move to improve the team.

"It can help us to introduce some player who haven't played too much recently and we can prepare much better for the future. It can help us to believe more in our improvements since January."

Southampton are 9/5 to win at the Hawthorns with West Brom 7/4 and the draw priced at 23/10.

Once the cup is out the way the focus soon reverts back to the league and Southampton face a crucial set of fixtures in the coming weeks, taking on other struggling sides; Stoke, Newcastle and Swansea.

"Every single game will be crucial, but you can't think about the big picture all of the time," he added.

"You have to be focused on our job day by day and you have to be calm with the concept and have the belief to be brave to approach these moments."

The Saints are 100/1 to be relegated at the end of the season while West Brom are 1/200 to go down.

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