Premier League: Resurgent Tottenham halt Saints’ march

Frank Dalleres
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TOTTENHAM manager Mauricio Pochettino refused to condemn Southampton supporters who taunted him yesterday as his new team beat his former charges and climbed to sixth in the Premier League.

A first-half goal from midfielder Christian Eriksen ended Tottenham’s run of four league games without victory and halted Southampton’s sequence of six wins in all competitions.

Some travelling Saints fans used the trip to White Hart Lane to voice their displeasure at Pochettino’s summer defection from St Mary’s, though the Argentinian was sanguine in the face of provocation.

“I still love Southampton and maybe I can understand but this is football,” Pochettino said. “I do not change my feeling. For me it was a great moment, a great period of 18 months and always I will be grateful to Southampton Football Club and the people in Southampton.”

Southampton boss Ronald Koeman, however, slammed the supporters who barracked his predecessor. He said: “That is the reaction of the fans and I don’t agree with that. I think everybody needs respect and normally the respect is high in the Premier League.”

Spurs defender Jan Vertonghen saw a header cleared off the line before Eriksen opened the scoring five minutes before half-time, gathering a lay-off from winger Nacer Chadli to fire low past goalkeeper Fraser Forster from just outside the penalty area.

Chadli could have doubled the lead but hit the post while Saints’ best chances to equalise fell to summer signing Sadio Mane, who first saw a shot blocked by Kyle Naughton and then later missed the target from six yards.

“I am very happy and I congratulate the players who made a good job. We are still improving; three months in charge with a new philosophy,” added Pochettino.

“I am very happy today to get the three points and happy with the performance and happy with the way that the team played. This is what we want. I think the team deserved to win.”

Koeman called Mane’s late miss “unlucky” and insisted he was happy with his team’s display, despite suffering only a second defeat.

“I am disappointed about the final result, not disappointed about our performance,” the Dutchman added. We knew it was difficult because in the first half they did great pressing.”