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Struggling Saints inspired by Poch's team talk
José Fonte revealed how a stirring half-time team talk from Mauricio Pochettino helped inspire Saints’ fight back against Sunderland.
Trailing 1-0 at the break, following a below-par display, the home side rallied in the second period.
Saints dominated the half and deservedly levelled the game when Fonte headed in a late James Ward-Prowse free-kick.
The centre half said the team’s improvement was partly down to the words of their boss, Pochettino, in the dressing room at the interval.
“The manager gave us a great speech at half-time, told us how it is, what we have to do, what we were doing wrong, and we knew we had to change something, because the tempo was too slow in the first half,” explained Fonte.
l Continued on page 43 l From back page “He made a couple of changes, we had two strikers up front, and we started creating a bit more and looked more dangerous.
“It’s just disappointing not to get the win, at home and we have the fans behind us, and we felt like we deserved the victory.”
Fonte said the players were particularly disappointed at the slack marking which allowed Sunderland to take an early lead.
Emanuele Giaccherini, the smallest player on the pitch, at 5ft 5in, was left all alone to head home a corner from six yards.
Pochettino described the defending as a “wake-up call” for his team, and Fonte agreed with that assessment.
“It was disappointing,” he said. “We watched at half-time the goal and he was just standing in the middle of the box, and no one has seen him and no one picked him up. It’s something that we have to learn, because it can’t happen again.”
While Fonte was understandably pleased to have salvaged a point for Saints, he was adamant that the team should have taken all three.
As well as the chances they created, the defender also pointed to two first-half penalty appeals when he and Adam Lallana went to ground in the area, claiming they had been hauled down by an opponent.
“I’m happy for me and for the fans and the team,” he said of his goal.
“When you go one goal down after two minutes you have to run after the result.
“It was a very hard game, we weren’t at our best, especially in the first half, but still I believe that we deserved more than just a draw.
“We had better chances, we created the most opportunities, we had a couple of penalty shouts. One on Adam and one on me in the first half. It was blatant.”
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