Nathan Jones believes no one would ‘choose’ to face Manchester City in a one-off game, but is relishing the opportunity to test his Southampton side against ‘one of the best’.

Saints welcome the Premier League champions to St. Mary’s looking to cause an upset in the Quarter-Final of the Carabao Cup on Wednesday night.

And whilst many would presume a straightforward path into the last four for Pep Guardiola’s side, Jones wants his side to rise to the occasion.

'It's winner takes all'

“It’s probably the toughest test you can have at the moment,” Jones said to the media in his pre-match press conference. 

“They’re [Man. City] one of the best teams in the world. It’s the quarter-final of the cup, it’s a shoot-out, it’s winner takes all so we need a strong home performance. We had a strong performance at the weekend so hopefully we can back that up.

“No one would choose in a one-game shoot-out to play Man. City, and that’s the realistic thing, but that’s the next opponent and it’s a wonderful opportunity to test ourselves against one of the best teams in the world let alone Premier League.

“It's a cup game, we want to try and win the game. We don’t just want to keep the score down, we don’t want to be happy with a respectable loss. 

“We want to be aggressive, be front footed and continue our development of what we’re trying to do here. We know it’s a massive task, but it’s a great test. Hopefully we can respond.”

Many Saints fans will be hoping to see new signing Mislav Orsic for the first time in red and white after joining from Dinamo Zagreb.

The Croatian international has been training with his new team mates since joining just under a week ago, but Jones remained tight-lipped about his inclusion in the squad for the last eight tie.

'It's day-to-day'

The Saints boss explained: “He hasn’t played much football since scoring the winner in the 3rd/4th play-off at the world cup. 

“We are just going to have to assess that. What we don’t want to do is push him too early and then something happen, and we lose him. That would be crazy, so we’ll see. It’s day-to-day.”

Saints will be hoping Orsic isn’t the only new face on the south coast this January, with Carlos Alcaraz set to join from Argentinian club Racing and Jones is hoping for more as he bids to guide the team to Premier League survival.

“At the minute we just lack one or two things,” Jones said when asked about potential incomings. 

“We would like to bring that in whilst still protecting the philosophy and what we want to do long term. None of that changes, and as you’ll see over the next two to three weeks you’ll see a good balance in the work that we do.

"There’s no knee-jerk, everything is structured, discussed, planned. We are all in agreement in what we need over the short, medium and long term.”

'I understand frustration'

The 2-1 win in the Emirates FA Cup on Saturday away at Crystal Palace was the first in Jones’ tenure at the fifth attempt, and whilst that paused any ill feeling amongst Saints supporters, the former Luton Town boss insists he understands the fans’ frustrations at the poor start to his time in charge.

“We need everyone pulling the right direction,” he said. “I understand frustration, but those frustrations don’t help anyone at this point in time.

"I actually prefer they take it out on me than the team, but what we do want to do is give them performances where they can see progression, they can see a group of players that wants to work hard and they can get behind. We have to be together.”

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