Rubén Sellés declared his pride in the Southampton players and fans, whose belief never wavered as Saints staged a dramatic late comeback to rescue a point against Tottenham at St Mary’s.
The hosts found themselves with a mountain to climb, trailing 3-1 to the Champions League hopefuls with 13 minutes to play, but Theo Walcott pulled a goal back before James Ward-Prowse held his nerve from a pressure penalty deep into stoppage time.
That was after Ché Adams had cancelled out Pedro Porro’s first-half opener, before Spurs stormed into a 3-1 lead.
“I’m feeling proud, very proud of the performance that the boys put on to the pitch, very proud of how the crowd supported us in the last 15 minutes, I think it was a key moment for us,” he said.
“Of course we need to analyse the game, get the things we didn’t do well, but I think we didn’t deserve to be 3-1 down, and the comeback just shows how much football and character we have in our dressing room.
“I think you can see on the pitch when we concede the 3-1 (goal), the boys got together and sent a message to each other. We went for it – we had the situation to score the second one.
“It was difficult to play after you lose against Brentford after three days, but we showed physicality, we showed football, we showed character, we showed togetherness, we saw a stadium that was bouncing with the team, and I’m very proud of it.”
Saints’ adaptability was tested in a bizarre first half in which both managers were forced to make two substitutions due to injuries.
For Sellés, that meant having to withdraw both of his starting centre-backs in Armel Bella-Kotchap, after eight minutes, and Jan Bednarek, 11 minutes before the interval.
“It’s never happened in my life and I’m 15 years in football, never lose two centre-backs to injury in the first 30 minutes,” the boss continued. “But we have a big squad, that’s the reality.
“We brought Mohammed Salisu in, who was fantastic and has been playing for this club for the last three or four years, and we brought Ainsley Maitland-Niles, who was a little bit different – he gave us a lot of calmness in the build-up, and the team managed in the best way possible. I think they did a fantastic job.”