Many had written off Saints on their return to the top flight and one win in their opening 11 matches did nothing to quieten the naysayers.
However, Southampton soon picked up under Nigel Adkins and have kicked on again under his successor, Pochettino. Saints are in the midst of a five-match unbeaten run and head into the trip to Swansea all but certain of avoiding an immediate return to the npower Championship.
Swans boss Michael Laudrup has highlighted this weekend's Liberty Stadium clash as vital to their aspirations of a top-half finish - something Pochettino believes three points could also help his side achieve.
"What I really want to do is win the game on Saturday, which we all do as a team," the Saints manager said. "I think if we're able to do that then we'll be able to do that (finish in the top 10), but first of all we need to play the game.
"Second of all we need to be better than them and third of all we have to score the goals in order to be able to win the game and get the three points that we really want. Our energy cannot be really focused on what might happen. We need to focus on the present, the here and now, what is tangible.
"What is tangible now is getting three points, always training to compete, always training to win and competing to win as well.
"If we do that, we will be all right but again our focus has to be on something that is real rather than something that might happen.
"Also overall, our minds have to be focused in a positive way. It is a normal human condition that we think about negative things, that we consider negative thoughts.
"But why not think about the positives - the good things that might happen? We just have got to focus on doing positive things for ourselves and always try to win games and play and compete in a positive manner."
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