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Southampton-Sunderland Preview

By SANTOSH VENKATARAMAN

STATS Senior Writer

(AP) -- Mauricio Pochettino has reiterated that he will stay on as Southampton boss ahead of Saturday's lunch-time kick-off at the Stadium of Light against Sunderland.

Southampton chairman Nicola Cortese resigned Thursday. The club's owner, Katharina Liebherr, said she would be taking over as non-executive chairman.

Pochettino, who was hired as manager in January 2013, said last season he wouldn't stay on as manager if Cortese left. On Thursday, the Spaniard confirmed that he will stay on with the Saints.

"The situation right now is completely different," Pochettino told Southampton's official website. "We're in the middle of our process and our project here at Southampton Football Club, so it's a completely different situation.

"Nicola knows of my decision to stay. I've spoken to him about it, and it shows that I'm fully committed to these players, to the staff, to all of the people working at this Club and to this society. It would make no sense to leave in the middle of our path."

Southampton have little concern of remaining in the Premier League for a third straight campaign as they sit in ninth place on 30 points.

The departure of the Italian Cortese has hastened rumours that talismanic defender Luke Shaw could be on the move. Shaw has been linked to Chelsea, but Pochettino would not discuss the future of a player who has been a stalwart for the Saints.

Pochettino admitted he was "shocked" by Cortese's decision and that it will be difficult to focus ahead of one of Southampton's longest trips of the season.

"It's quite clear that I have a good relationship with Nicola," Pochettino said. "He agrees with my decision to stay, and there's not much more I can really say about that at the moment. He only asked me for one thing, and that's to try to win on Saturday."

The Saints return to the Stadium of Light, where they were dumped out of the League Cup in a 2-1 defeat Nov. 6. Southampton have three draws and three defeats in their last six visits spanning three competitions.

Gus Poyet's side are in 19th place on 17 points after last Saturday's 4-1 victory at Fulham on Adam Johnson's hat trick.

"I think a result like this has been coming for a while," midfielder Lee Cattermole told Sunderland's official website. "We were just waiting for the day where we took our chances and got a couple of good goals to catch a team on the break and get a result."

Sunderland will present a more settled side than they did in a 1-1 draw at St. Mary's on Aug. 24, when Paolo Di Canio was in charge. The Black Cats were in control through Emanuele Giaccherini's third-minute strike until Jose Fonte salvaged a point for the hosts with a goal in the 88th.

Cattermole missed that contest with a knee injury and Phil Bardsley was suspended by Di Canio. They are part of an improved side that has picked up seven points over the last four fixtures.

Sunderland are seeking to avoid going three straight home Premier League matches without a goal in a single season since November-December 2005.

Updated January 16, 2014

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