Southampton face a massive clash in the Europa League tomorrow night when they host Italian giants Inter Milan, in a match that will test just how far the Saints have come in recent years.
Claude Puel’s side were rather unfortunate to narrowly lose at the San Siro in the reverse fixture two weeks ago but will fancy their chances on Thursday evening, as Inter are without a manager after they axed Frank De Boer yesterday.
The Saints will still need to be at their best though against a side that boasts a lot of class but Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg has stated his side have nothing to fear from the Italians.
“If you get a game against Inter Milan, you have to enjoy it. It is a huge club and only six years ago they won the Treble and were the kings of Europe. To get an opportunity to play a club like this, not only for me, but for the team and the club is a rare moment.
“We should not feel afraid. We should not feel under pressure, we should not feel dragged down by playing such a big club. We have shown what we are capable of and we can beat a club that big because Southampton is also a big club.
“The best team will win — and I know we are the best team.”
The Danish international knows that Southampton can’t afford to lose if they are to advance to the knock-out stages but his words are well chosen and correct, as Inter are no longer the force they used to be on the continent or even domestically.
Inter have fallen a long way since Jose Mourinho lead them to the treble six years ago and, in the meantime, Southampton have risen to be one of the strongest sides outside of England’s usual top-five.