Plucky Rovers please Ward

BY foxsports • February 10, 2013

Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino feels his side's surprise win over Manchester City was the result of hard work and the belief within his squad.

The Saints saw off the defending Premier League champions 3-1 at St Mary's stadium to mark Pochettino's first victory as manager since he replaced the sacked Nigel Adkins last month.

The Argentinian says teams can only win if they have belief and feels it was abundant in his hard-working Southampton side on Saturday.

He told the club's official website: "Victories only come if you believe you can get them. Everyone here at Southampton has belief.

"The key is all of the work we put into it and the work that we've put in for all of the matches.

"Today we've seen it again, and the result has come to us too.

"I have said before in the other matches against Everton, Manchester United and Wigan that we played well but didn't get the points that we deserved. Today we played well and got those points that we deserved."

Argentinian Pochettino's arrival at St Mary's was met with hostility from some Southampton fans following Adkins' shock dismissal but the boss was full of praise for the home support after the win.

He added: "We're all very happy. I want to thank the supporters for the great support they gave us today.

"I have said many times before that I was very well received here, I have had a great welcome and I am very happy with the supporters, all the staff and the players that are here."

Luke Howell's 56th minute strike proved to be the only goal and ended an impressive five-game unbeaten run for the Robins.

"I'm disappointed because I really thought we deserved something out of the game," reflected Yates.

"We could have done better for their goal but then we had enough chances to get something. I thought we played well in patches but we also needed a bit more quality.

"It was always going to be hard coming here because they're battling hard, but we didn't do the basics well enough."

Second-half goals from Kelvin Langmead and top scorer Adebayo Akinfenwa, his 16th of the campaign coming from the penalty spot, took the Cobblers back into the play-off places after Jason Kennedy had cancelled out Clive Platt's first half opener in Saturday's 3-1 victory over Rochdale.

It was just the response Aidy Boothroyd's side needed after two successive defeats on the road.

"At home the players have a belief they are always going to win and so I always thought we'd get back in front after they equalised," said King.

"But we must start to have that same belief away from home. All we need is that away win, I don't know why we can't do it away but it's all about confidence.

"Rochdale are a good footballing side but I didn't think they caused us too many problems apart from the goal.

"They started well but we contained their threat by not conceding and that was satisfying. We got the goal at the right time and once they equalised we did well to get back in front so quickly."

Second-half goals from Kelvin Langmead and top scorer Adebayo Akinfenwa, his 16th of the campaign coming from the penalty spot, took the Cobblers back into the play-off places after Dale midfielder Jason Kennedy cancelled out Clive Platt's first half opener

"It was a strange game and the defeat was marginal but we're on the right track and I don't want us to get derailed by the result," said hill, who is yet to taste victory in three matches since returning to the Spotland hotseat.

"There are a lot of tell-tale signs that the team is improving and sticking to the plan. There is obviously improvement needed in certain areas of the pitch but what I'm seeing is encouraging and we won't be derailed by the result.

"A lot of what we did in the game is what we're doing in training and that is pleased to see. The manner of the defeat, though, is disappointing.

"We fought hard to get back into the game and they scored immediately after our equaliser, which means we lost concentration and that is a cardinal sin.

"We need to improve on our concentration levels in and out of possession because that was a goal that should not have been conceded."

Dean Morgan netted two first-half penalties for Wycombe - the first in the third minute after being fouled by Scott Kerr and the second before the break following Jamal Fyfield's barge on Joel Grant.

Grant got on the scoresheet himself with a fine solo effort on the hour mark with defender Dave Winfield completing the 4-0 victory with a header 10 minutes from time.

"We're very disappointed from start to finish," said Mills It was a terrible start, we gave away two penalties. We're committing suicide at the moment," said Mills.

"We're giving away goals and we don't look like scoring and, at the end of the day, that's a recipe for disaster. We'll sort it out, that's our job. We'll get ready for the next one and move on.

"Football's about this. It's not all success, when things aren't going right you have to stand up and be counted.

"The players at this football club have got to stand up and start winning matches, start doing their jobs better. We know that, and we will.

"There's no hiding it. There's no excuses. We're giving goals away and not scoring goals. Jamal's told me he hasn't pulled the man, I've got the DVD so I'll see if he's telling the truth.

"It's a very disappointing weekend again for us again. Two weekends running and conceding four goals in both games. That's not good enough, we have to be better."

This, after both netted in the Chairboys' comfortable win over York at Adams Park.

Morgan netted two first-half penalties for Wycombe - the first in the third minute after being fouled by Scott Kerr and the second before the break following Jamal Fyfield's barge on Grant.

Grant got on the scoresheet himself with a fine solo effort on the hour mark with defender Dave Winfield completing the 4-0 victory with a header 10 minutes from time.

Wycombe have now won three straight and are unbeaten in five and boss Ainsworth admitted Morgan and Grant would have been a handful for anyone such was their performance.

"The way York came at us, after getting beaten last week, and seeing us on television on Monday, they tried to get us on the counter," said Ainsworth.

"We pre-empted that and thought it might take a while until we got into the game. We didn't think it would take two minutes but players like Dean and Joel are ideal for these situations.

"They can break on the counter away from home and they can break with pace but when teams want to sit in against us they can make things happen.

"They showed that in abundance. It was a flat game, very flat. The early goal killed it a little bit in a funny way but I told the lads they had to grind it out after Monday [when they beat Gillingham].

"I think a few of them were on half tanks starting the game because we gave it everything and I think that to not be fully recovered and put a performance in like that speaks absolute volumes."

Lee Brown's penalty 10 minutes into the second half, and a second goal deep into stoppage time by substitute Eliot Richards did the trick for the visitors.

Oxford have taken one point from four games over the past fortnight, dealing a severe blow to their play-off aspirations.

"We had the best chances of the game but haven't taken them," Wilder said. "It's just as disappointing as last week when we lost at Southend.

"In a tight first half we had the best chances, and I thought we started the second half really well.

"It's just a bit of quality in and around the final third that is the difference.

"And that's the difference between players staying here and players moving on.

"We dominated that game but I can't keep saying that. It's the big moments we're not getting right."

"My skipper (Jake Wright) has held his hand up for the penalty. He's made a bad decision.

"The second goal at the end was because we had six up front and were trying to get an equaliser."

The Pirates have lost just once in eight games since Ward took charge before Christmas.

This victory avenged a 2-0 win by Oxford at the Memorial Stadium at the start of the season and pushed Rovers further clear of relegation danger.

Lee Brown's penalty 10 minutes into the second half, and a second goal deep into stoppage time by substitute Eliot Richards did the trick.

Ward said: "It was an exceptionally hard game for us, our third game in the week, and on a pitch that was massively heavy.

"We had to battle our way through this one. Oxford's manager saw us play on Tuesday and set his team up to make it very hard for us.

"But we did ever so well. We are keeping our nerve under pressure, collectively and individually, and it just shows what winning matches can do for your confidence.

"We've defended stoutly, as we've had to, and the second goal was quick thinking and some very good play.

"It's happening nicely for us at the moment and we're enjoying it.

"But after these three games in a week, the boys badly need a break and a breather now, and we'll allow that to happen."


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