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Southampton boss Pochettino denies running down FA Cup

Southampton boss Mauricio Pochettino insists he did not disparage the FA Cup by his selection for defeat at Sunderland.

Pochettino was heavily criticised after he made six changes to the team that lost 1-0 at Sunderland in the fifth round of the competition.

He told the Daily Echo: "During the time we've been here we've always shown proof that we fully care about the English competitions, especially the FA Cup and the Capital One Cup, and we've always shown that full respect towards those competitions.

"It is true that day we did have a bad day. Perhaps we were not as fresh as we could have been and I completely understand the disappointment of the fans, because we were also disappointed in the same manner and to the same extent."

Pochettino added: "As we always do, we chose the best starting eleven, what we thought was the best starting eleven for the club, for the team, that day.

"We made the correct decision in picking those players, but it is true that we didn't actually get through the tie. We weren't able to do that on that day, and it's not because of a lack of respect.

"That's never the case, because we fully respect the FA Cup."

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