Mauricio Pochettino said it was the idea of the entire club for the players to show support for injured star Jay Rodriguez during the pre-match warm-ups on Saturday.
Rodriguez was watching on from the stands, following the horror knee injury he suffered a week previously, in the 4-1 defeat at Manchester City.
However, despite his absence from the line-up, he was still firmly on the minds of the rest of the squad.
As his teammates emerged for their pre-match warm-ups, ahead of the clash with Cardiff, each one wore a top with a ‘9’ – Rodriguez’s squad number – printed on the back.
“It was the club’s idea,” said Pochettino.“It was basically everybody involved with the club had the idea to support him. He has our full support in this really tough time that he is going through, and we want him to get as better as possible, as soon as possible.”
Without top scorer Rodriguez in their line-up, Saints were unable to breach a Cardiff defence that had conceded 32 goals on their travels this season before Saturday’s contest.
The absence of the 15-goal England forward certainly appeared to harm the hosts’ chances, although Pochettino suggested it was only natural that people would point to that factor as one of the reasons for the defeat.
“Of course, when you lose, you always miss the players that are out. That always happens,” he said.