Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino left to rue fresh penalty injustice at Norwich City
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Southampton boss Mauricio Pochettino's latest Carrow Road visit proved no less miserable than his first.
The Argentine had confronted Mark Clattenburg on the pitch at the end of last season's goalless Premier League draw after he awarded Norwich a late Grant Holt penalty, saved by Artur Boruc. Pochettino resisted any urge for a similar protest despite Howard Webb's refusal to award the Saints' a first-half penalty of their own after Bradley Johnson blocked Adam Lallana's strike with his hands.
The hosts' were also denied what appeared a clear spot kick in the closing minutes, but Pochettino still left Norfolk with a fresh sense of grievance.
'The penalty call would have changed completely the nature of the game,' said the Saints' boss, speaking through an interpreter. 'It was a penalty that should have been given. I don't understand why it wasn't. The referee was very close to the action. It was blatant. The first 15 minutes Norwich were dominating the game but after that I felt we were able to match them in their strength and their effort and after those 15 minutes we played well. In the second half when we were playing well we conceded a goal and we found it very hard to get back from that. The overall feeling is that we played well, that we deserved a bit more from that match, although I don't want to take credit away from Norwich. They actually played very well.'
Pochettino was also forced to defend his team selections after a lacklustre full Premier League debut from £12.5m Roma signing Dani Osvaldo and the baffling decision to substitute impressive captain Adam Lallana after the interval.
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'Basically we were looking for alternatives to our game at that point,' he said. 'Gaston Ramirez is one of our creative players. We were trying to spark a different type of creation to our play. Gaston has a similar function to Adam but it is clear when you lose the game the decisions you make you want to be different.
'With the new players I think it is normal they will take time to come and link up with the ones already at the club. If you talk about Osvaldo and Rickie Lambert it was their first game together and Osvaldo needs time and effort to play well.'
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Highly-rated young full-back Luke Shaw was held in reserve as a precaution following an injury against Sunderland the previous week.
Pochettino has been at pains to warn off potential suitors ahead of the transfer window deadline tonight and the Saints' boss also dismissed speculation Jack Cork is set for a move to Fulham after being omitted from his matchday squad at Carrow Road.
'Jack Cork was left out for no other reason than I am the manager and I must make decisions on the team. He was not injured. There's no offer from Fulham. I don't know anything about that,' he said. 'He's a first-team squad member, he's a part of this team. If we start selling players we're only going to be left with just 11 players, so no. We will see what happens. There is still time to make a lot of decisions but the rest of the clubs are in the same position whether they let players leave or add to the squads. There are a couple of areas we perhaps need to reinforce.'