Jose Fonte has praised the professionalism of Morgan Schneiderlin and is delighted the midfielder didn’t join the great summer exodus from St Mary’s.
France international Schneiderlin looks set to remain a Saints player by the time the transfer window closes tonight, despite interest from Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham.
However, the 24-year-old’s future had looked deeply uncertain just a few weeks ago, after a Twitter outburst that came in the wake of him being told he would not be sold this summer.
But Schneiderlin has since put that frustration behind him, accepted the club’s decision and started all three of their Premier League games this season, scoring twice in Saturday’s 3-1 win at West Ham, before declaring that he remains committed to Saints.
Fonte said: “He’s a great player. We know that for sure, because we train with him every day and we play with him.
“Again, he showed why there’s so much interest in him, so we are pleased that he’s still here, and we hope that he keeps being here.
“You saw he keeps his head down and he does what he has to do. He’s a professional.
“Obviously, these things can sometimes play with your mind, but he’s been a very good professional, very good for us, and we are just glad that we still have him.”
Saints skipper Fonte also praised the performance of Graziano Pelle, who scored the team’s third at Upton Park.
That effort that marked his first Premier League strike, and his second goal of the week, after netting in the League Cup win at Millwall.
“It’s good for his confidence, obviously, two goals in two games,” said Fonte. “That’s exactly what he needed.
“He’s been working hard, he works very hard in games as well, defending, so we are pleased for him and we hope he can get more.
“He’s a handful, as you can see. He’s strong and big, he’s good with his feet as well, so hopefully he can get a few goals for us.”
Saints were utterly dominant during much of Saturday’s match, and Fonte agreed it was a well-deserved win.
“The first 25, 30 minutes we started bright, we started well, dominating possession like we normally do,” he said.
“Until their goal, we were completely comfortable.
“The goal, from our point of view, was a little bit soft. We lost the ball in the middle of the park, and then a deflection – we were a bit unlucky.
“But we reacted well, and that’s the most important thing. Getting the goal before half-time was very important as well.
“Then, in the second half, the team really believed and we expressed ourselves and our football, the way we play, and the way we want to play, and we dominated the game.
“At the end, it was comfortable, but we need to keep moving and keep wanting more, because it’s only three points.
“It’s a good start to the season, but it’s a very long and tough season.”