New Southampton manager Ruben Selles insists he has nothing to prove in the dugout and the club are all united with “one mission”, to stay in the Premier League.
The 39-year-old Spaniard took charge of his first league game as caretaker boss last weekend in the 1-0 win at Chelsea, and on Friday morning he was confirmed as Nathan Jones’ successor until the end of the season.
Saints have been in the bottom three since Jones was appointed in November, with only one victory from his eight Premier League games in charge.
After pulling off an unlikely win at Stamford Bridge, Southampton now sit just three points off 17th place as they prepare to head to fellow strugglers Leeds, who are also under new management.
The appointment of Selles, who has held various coaching roles across Europe during his career, comes after Southampton failed to agree a deal with former Leeds boss Jesse Marsch.
Nevertheless, having also been part of the backroom staff under former boss Ralph Hasenhuttl, Selles feels a sense of continuity can help guide the club back towards top-flight stability.
“It is a pleasure for me and I think all of the technical staff deserve this, they have been amazing and working hard together,” said Selles.
“We are one mission and we are all in for that, so there is not much time to take the focus away from that.
“I am very thankful with the owners to give me the opportunity until the end of the season and with all the support that I got from the fans.
“Once the club decided that I was the person to take it until the end of the season, I just continued, doing nothing special, continuing the good work that we have been doing for the last two weeks.”
Selles told a press conference: “I have the job full-time. It is not an opportunity, it is just what it is.
“It is the Premier League, it is a challenge and it is a way to lead a great organisation into a good moment and that is how I am going to take it.
“I do not need to prove anything. I just think that we have a very, very, very good group inside to work and it is my pleasure to lead.
“It is not about that I have been appointed as manager, it is about the technical staff and the group working in the same direction.
“The players have been working hard the last two weeks and have made that position for me, so it is about all of us.”
Selles maintains the squad must stay focused on producing consistent performances rather than worry about what the end of the season might bring.
“I don’t think in the long term. I am just thinking about the game tomorrow and about how I make my boys to have the best chance tomorrow to perform,” he said.
“If we perform well we can have the chance to win, and that is going to be our philosophy.
“Then in the end of the season we will say this is enough for us to stay (up), but what we need is just to be proud of everything we do and that is what we are doing.”
Southampton will be without forward Che Adams and Croatian winger Mislav Orsic, because of concussion protocols, for the trip to Elland Road, but Mohammed Salisu has been able to return to training this week.
Javi Gracia will take charge of his first match with Leeds, having been brought in as Marsch’s replacement earlier this week and now received his working visa.
Selles said: “Javi is a great coach with a long career in Spain and also here in England with Watford.
“He has a little bit different style than Jesse in Leeds and of course, as any manager, he will try to bring his own philosophy.
“I think they will look a little bit different tomorrow than they looked before. Let’s see what they prepare for us.”
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