Pochettino on Saints' "amazing effort"

By SFC Media time Sat 19 Oct Men's First team

Mauricio Pochettino hailed the fitness levels of Southampton's players after their last-gasp equaliser at Manchester United today.

James Ward-Prowse's corner was bundled home by a combination of Dejan Lovren and Adam Lallana a minute from time to earn Saints a deserved point at Old Trafford.

And, speaking to Saints Player at full-time, the manager expressed his happiness at the never-say-die nature of the players at his disposal.

"That's one of the signs that certify that we're on the right path," Pochettino remarked when questioned about the side's strong second-half performances so far this campaign. 

"From the start of the season the team has been putting in an amazing effort. They've been having double training sessions every day and it’s now, at this time of the season, that we’re reaping the benefits of the effort that we put in.

"I’m very happy," he continued. "I want to congratulate my players because they put in an amazing effort today – I just want to praise them for their efforts.

"First of all we believed. We prepared very well for this match and we put in an amazing effort. At all times during the match we played as a team."

Despite the stature of their opponents, Saints went on the attack from the first minute and – despite being pegged back by Wayne Rooney's 26th-minute opener – were good value for the point.

And Pochettino says the fact that the game was played at the home of the reigning Barclays Premier League champions did not impact upon his game-plan for the match.

"Our mentality doesn’t change whether we play at Old Trafford or at St Mary's," he insisted. 

"We knew that if we pushed them into their own half we’d have chances to get a positive result or even actually win the game, so that is how we planned it. We haven’t won, but we were very close."

Ahead of kick-off, some eyebrows were raised by the decision to leave Rickie Lambert on the bench for the first time in a league game since Pochettino took charge last January.

But the manager was philosophical about that choice, stating that the England man remains integral to his plans.

"Rickie Lambert is a very important player for us, for this team," Pochettino affirmed, "[but] I don’t think it's a gamble that one player plays and one player doesn’t play. 

"I repeat – as I’ve said in the past – that he’s an important player for us. There will be some games that he starts and other games that he doesn’t start, but overall he’s very important to us."

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