José Fonte was delighted to put recent events behind him with the opening goal of the game in Saints’ 2-2 draw with Arsenal.
The transition period behind-the-scenes at the club, coupled with his own stint in the spotlight over the past seven days showed no signs of disruption as the defender moved to reassure supporters that all is well on a personal level and within the team.
“What can I say? I’m fine,” he told Saints Player after the game against the Gunners at St Mary’s.
“It has been eventful obviously and what happened wasn’t nice at the training ground, but I am man enough and I have moved on and I hope everyone can move on and focus on what is important which is Southampton, the Club and winning games of football.
“There is no problem with me – I am fine, so I just want to keep playing.
“This group is very strong mentally and the togetherness is there,” he added. “We know each other really well and know what we are all capable of.
“We are professional and know that we have to do a job on the pitch because this is our careers and our lives and we need to deliver. Credit to all the players who showed great character and great belief.”
Fonte hailed the display of character from Saints to secure a 2-2 draw with the Barclays Premier League leaders on Tuesday evening, whilst maintaining a personal record of never losing with the team when he scores.
“That is a plus, but we are disappointed we didn’t get the three points because I felt we deserved it,” he said as he reflected on the match.
“It was lively and it was hard because Arsenal are such a good team. They came at us in the second half and possibly we didn’t defend very well but we have to give credit to them because they are one of the best teams in the world and they have great players.
“They forced their way in and scored two goals, but it was a great reaction from us after that.”
Indeed, Saints were hard-working from the first minute to the last, as they nullified the threat of the visitors by maintaining a pressing game for the duration of the contest.
“We started really well,” Fonte assessed. “We said before the game that we wanted to start quick with lots of pressing which we always do at home, we did a great job and I think we were back to our best.
“That is our philosophy and the manager emphasised at half time that we needed to do the same in the second half as we had in the first.
“For the first ten minutes of the second half I don’t think we did enough, but we came back into the game playing our style and our philosophy and we believe in that.”