May 2, 2018 / 4:36 PM / in 5 months

Lemina focused on Southampton's survival, not transfer talk

(Reuters) - Southampton midfielder Mario Lemina says he is not thinking about his own future and is solely focused on helping the team avoid relegation from the Premier League this season.

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - FA Cup Semi Final - Chelsea v Southampton - Wembley Stadium, London, Britain - April 22, 2018 Chelsea's Eden Hazard in action with Southampton's Mario Lemina Action Images via Reuters/Carl Recine/File Photo

The 24-year-old, who joined Southampton from Italian side Juventus last August, has delivered some impressive performances in his debut campaign, with British media reporting other clubs could be interested in luring him away from St Mary’s.

Gabon international Lemina has featured 24 times in the league this season and notched his first assist in the Saints’ 2-1 win over Bournemouth last weekend.

The victory moved 18th-placed Southampton to within a point of the safety zone with three games remaining and Lemina says the club’s Premier League survival is his main priority.

“The club have given me everything to perform and I need to give back with all my heart to win the last three games,” Lemina was quoted as saying by the Daily Echo. “When you join a team I don’t think you can expect to try to fight to save yourself...

“We don’t talk about ourselves, we talk about the club and we just have to save the club.

“After everyone can make a decision to stay or leave. This is not my problem, my only problem is to win the last few games and save the team. We have to save the club because it deserves to stay in the Premier League.”

British media reports have linked Lemina with a move to Liverpool, who have signed several Southampton players in the past.

Lemina has never been involved in a relegation battle at his former clubs but is relishing Southampton’s current battle.

“This is my first time but I feel this moment is a challenge and we have to just play the next few games like a final,” Lemina said. “We just have to win.”

Southampton travel to Everton on Saturday followed by a trip to Swansea City in their penultimate game before finishing the season at home to champions Manchester City.

Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis

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