Morgan Schneiderlin admits it will be strange when he visits Southampton with Manchester United in the Barclays Premier League on Sunday.
The United midfielder, who did not start last weekend’s win over Liverpool and missed the UEFA Champions League defeat by PSV Eindhoven, is hoping to regain his place this weekend against the club he left for Old Trafford in July.
The Frenchman says arriving at St Mary’s as an opponent after seven years with Southampton will be a novel experience but he will not let it distract him from helping United’s task of claiming a win that would lift them to second.
“It will be strange to go in the away dressing room. I’ve never seen the away dressing room,” Schneiderlin told MUTV. “I’ll see all the people that I worked with for seven years, all behind the scenes.
“I know all the staff there so it will be strange for me, but I need to stay focused on my game and put all those things aside. I need to just work on my game and be as focused as I can.”
Ronald Koeman himself wants to see more ruthlessness in attack from his Southampton side after their 0-0 draw with West Bromwich Albion last time out.
“We had good organisation and defending, but with all the ball we had you’d expect a little more quality up front, so we have to improve,” said the Southampton manager, who would be pleased with a repeat of the 1-0 win he masterminded at Old Trafford in January.
Southampton (from): K Davis, Gazzaniga, Stekelenburg, Bertrand, Caulker, Cedric, Fonte, Martina, McCarthy, Targett, Van Dijk, Yoshida, Clasie, S Davis, Isgrove, Mane, McQueen, Reed, Romeu, Tadic, Wanyama, Ward-Prowse, Juanmi, Long, Pelle, Rodriguez.
Manchester United (from): De Gea, Romero, Johnstone, Valdes, Darmian, Jones, McNair, Rojo, Smalling, Valencia, Varela, Blind, Carrick, Fellaini, Herrera, Lingard, Mata, Pereira, Schneiderlin, Schweinsteiger, Young, Depay, Martial, Rooney, Wilson.
“The key is to continue how we played, but improve in the final cross, pass or position in the box. We sometimes have too much difficulty to create and score.”
United hope to have captain Wayne Rooney fit again after he missed both the Liverpool and PSV Eindhoven matches, although Phil Jones is still a doubt and Luke Shaw will miss his St Mary’s return after breaking his leg in midweek.
For Southampton, Jordy Clasie (ankle) and Ryan Bertrand (knee) are doubts, with Gaston Ramirez (hamstring), Florin Gardos and Fraser Forster (both knee) sidelined for the long term.
United have not kept a clean sheet against Southampton in any of their last seven meetings and have only beaten them once in their last four encounters, when Robin van Persie scored both goals in a 2-1 win on the south coast last December. Southampton can close to within a point of the Red Devils in the table with a victory.