Southampton boss Nathan Jones expecting tough Carabao Cup encounter with Manchester City

Under-fire Southampton manager Nathan Jones says he is braced for one of the biggest challenges in world football ahead of his side's Carabao Cup quarter-final clash against Manchester City.

Southampton are rooted to the foot of the Premier League following six consecutive defeats, with Jones yet to get off the mark in the top flight since taking over in November.

Jones' position is already under scrutiny, but the former Luton boss will have a welcome chance to divert attention away from his side's survival scrap when they host Pep Guardiola's team.

"It's probably the toughest test you can have because they are one of the best in the world," said Jones ahead of Wednesday night's clash at St Mary's Stadium.

"But it is the quarter-finals of a cup so it's a shoot-out. It is winner-takes-all and we need a strong home performance.

"Of course, it is a tough ask but these are the moments that you want to test yourself against because if it is simple, week in, week out, then there's no real joy in it and there's no challenge.

"I know this job is a challenge and this game (against City) is one of the biggest about. It is a wonderful opportunity to test ourselves against one of the best teams in the world, not just the Premier League."

Southampton came from a goal down to beat Crystal Palace last weekend and book their place in the fourth round of the FA Cup.

And Jones hopes the comeback victory at Selhurst Park will provide them with some much-needed momentum before they tackle City, and then travel to Everton in a pivotal league fixture on Saturday.

"Every game is huge at the minute," Jones added. "Playing Palace away wouldn't have been our first choice, but it proved to be a really productive game for us - it was like a Premier League match - and we feel we've been gathering momentum and hopefully that can give us a springboard.

"Obviously, no one would choose in a one-game shootout to play Man City and that is just being realistic.

"But it's a cup game and we want to try and win. We don't just want to keep the scoreline down and we don't just want to have a respectable loss.

"We want to be aggressive. We want to be front-footed and we want to continue the development of what we're trying to do here."

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