Tottenham fans got a glimpse of what head coach Mauricio Pochettino wants from his team in the defeat of former club Southampton.
The former Argentina international enjoyed a highly-successful 18 months at the Saints helm and last season led them to their best-ever Barclays Premier League campaign.
That success saw Tottenham come calling in the summer, with Pochettino and his staff making the difficult decision to swap St Mary’s for White Hart Lane.
They came up against their former club for the first time on Sunday and prevented Ronald Koeman’s side making it seven straight wins in all competitions.
Christian Eriksen’s 20-yard strike secured the 1-0 victory, which not only ended Spurs’ four-match wait for a league win but showed the players are adapting to the head coach’s high-pressing, attacking style.
“I am very happy and I congratulate the players who made a good job,” Pochettino said. “We are still improving. Three months in charge with a new philosophy.
“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.
“There was no extra pressure. It was an emotional game for me. I love Southampton, I love the people in Southampton.
“It was a great 18 months for me in my life and my family and was a very tough decision. I am happy for the performance of the team but it was emotional for me.”
In the build-up, Pochettino called his time at Southampton the best period of his life and he clearly enjoyed seeing so many familiar faces at White Hart Lane.
However, his affection was not reciprocated by the sold-out visiting support, with chants aimed at the Spurs head coach from the outset.
“I still love Southampton and maybe I can understand but this is football,” Pochettino said of the taunts. “I do not change my feeling, nothing about Southampton.
“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.”
Surprisingly, Southampton counterpart Ronald Koeman was more forthright in giving his opinion of the chants directed at his predecessor.
“Yes, okay that is the reaction of the fans and I don’t agree with that,” the Dutchman said.
“I think everybody needs respect and normally the respect is high in the Premier League.
“I respect Mauricio very much and he did a great job in Southampton. Now he is the manager of Tottenham and it is a great challenge for him.”
This was a timely shot in the arm for Pochettino’s side ahead of the international break, although it could have so easily have been a draw.
Sadio Mane had Southampton’s best chance but was guilty of a miss-of-the-season contender, turning wide from six yards out in the closing stages.
Younes Kaboul was perhaps fortunate not to be sent off after being adjudged to have brought down the winger earlier in the second half when the last man.
Koeman was coy when asked whether the Spurs captain should have been sent off and was pleased with his side’s display in north London.
“I am disappointed about the final result, not disappointed about our performance,” the Dutchman said.
“We knew it was difficult because in the first half they did great pressing. It was easy to create possibilities, opportunities.
“It was a pity because they scored before half-time and we spoke then about keeping good organisation in the second half.
“Little by little we had to push up a little bit more and I think we did that very good. We got maybe the best chance in the game with Mane. Okay, it was unlucky but that is football.”
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