English Premiership

Pochettino thanks Spurs fans, players

2015-04-25 18:03
Mauricio Pochettino (AFP)

London - Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino thanked his team's supporters after getting an unfriendly welcome on his return to the south coast for Saturday's 2-2 Premier League draw against former club Southampton.

Pochettino, who joined the Saints from Espanyol in 2013, moved to Spurs last May after guiding Southampton to eighth last season, their highest Premier League finish.

The Argentine was jeered on his return to St Mary's but the home fans were soon cheering when Southampton capitalised on slack defending and Graziano Pelle edged in front of Ben Davies to score.

Erik Lamela equalised just before halftime but Pelle's thumping 65th-minute header restored Southampton's advantage, only for Nacer Chadli to put Spurs level again five minutes later.

"I want to congratulate the players and fans because they were fantastic," Pochettino told BT Sport.

"They touched me because they backed me a lot. It is the first time I've heard that from them and I appreciate it so much because it was a very tough game.

"It was very emotional for me because I still love Southampton and I have very good memories here."

Spurs, who have 58 points from 34 matches, are a point ahead of Southampton in the race for Europa League qualification but Liverpool are also in the mix.

Tottenham, Southampton and Liverpool could all qualify for the Europa League if second-placed Arsenal win the FA Cup as the teams finishing fifth, sixth and seventh are guaranteed places.

Southampton boss Ronald Koeman has exceeded expectations this season and the Saints now have 57 points, surpassing last season's Premier League record tally of 56.

"I am maybe a little bit disappointed but not a big one because it was a great game of football," Koeman told the BBC.

"For that you need two attacking teams and I am proud because we play to win games.

"With three clubs we will fight for fifth, sixth, or seventh. If we keep our level like we did today then we will qualify for the European competition."

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