Mauricio Pochettino says today’s defeat at Everton was a harsh way to bring the curtain down on 2013.
Saints put in an accomplished performance against a side beaten just twice all season but left empty-handed as goals from Seamus Coleman and Romelu Lukaku wiped out Gastón Ramírez’s stunning second-half equaliser.
And Pochettino’s disappointment was heightened by his belief that Southampton should have been awarded a late penalty when a Toffees defender appeared to handle Adam Lallana’s cross only for referee Mark Clattenburg to wave away the visitors’ appeals for a spot-kick.
“We are very disappointed because we played a very good game today,” Pochettino told Saints Player at full-time. “We put in an amazing performance but that isn't reflected in the end result.
“We created many chances – I think we created more than Everton today. However, at times we lacked a little efficiency and we were unlucky that some calls didn't go our way.
“We are very disappointed and very angry about the decision not to give the penalty – it was a clear penalty and everyone saw it.
“Maybe it is because we are a young team and we seem very friendly that we don't get the respect that we deserve from the referees and it has happened one more time today.”
Today’s defeat comes on the back of a resounding victory over Cardiff on Boxing Day – a result that ended a six-game winless streak.
And Pochettino says today’s result will not dent the confidence that had been generated by that victory three days ago.
“We are very happy with the performances that we have been having,” insisted the manager.
“We have been able to maintain our style in this past month when we have been coming to very tough stadiums like this one.
“Today I think we were superior to Everton. We didn't get the result that we wanted, but the bottom line is that we are happy with the performance.
“Now we just need to recover and focus on the next game.”
Pochettino had words of praise for Ramírez, who scored within five minutes of coming off the bench to register his first league goal of the season.
“It is very important that he got on the scoresheet and scored today because that will be very good for his confidence,” enthused the manager. “He is a very important part of this team.
“Hopefully it will lead to him pushing his confidence even higher. The goal will do him a lot of good, and it is a shame that it didn't lead to us getting a victory.”