Schneiderlin thanks Pardew for urging defensive focus

The 23-year-old has the most tackles in the Premier League this term and interceptions of anyone in the top five European leagues to his name, and says his former boss is behind it
Southampton midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin has thanked former manager Alan Pardew for urging him to work on the defensive side his of game.

The 23-year-old, who recently penned a new contract to remain with the Saints until 2017, has impressed during his debut season in the Premier League.

Schneiderlin can boast a league-high 102 tackles and the most interceptions of any player in Europe's top five leagues during his 26 league outings this season - and he says he owes a debt of gratitude to the current Newcastle boss for prompting him to improve that side of his game.

"He was the one saying to me to improve on my defensive skills," he told The Daily Echo.

"He was the one who was telling me 'come on, you need more tackling.' So, thanks go to him and his words every day saying that to me."

Schneiderlin played the full 90 minutes as Pardew's Newcastle United beat Southampton 4-2 on Sunday, leaving the south coast side 16th in the Premier League table - three points above the relegation zone.