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Mar 29, 2014

Pochettino proud of dominant Saints

Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino was proud of the "amazing'' manner in which his players dispatched of Newcastle.

Southampton's Rickie Lambert celebrates with his teammates.
Southampton's Rickie Lambert celebrates with his teammates.

Considering this was a match between teams vying for eighth in the Premier League, few could have foreseen the manner in which Saints dominated. The hosts managed 23 shots over the course of match which ended 4-0, courtesy of a Jay Rodriguez brace and goals from Rickie Lambert and Adam Lallana.

The scoreline would have been even grander was it not for Newcastle goalkeeper Rob Elliot's inspired display and some wayward finishing in a win that saw Saints climb above the visitors.

"I am very happy,'' Saints boss Pochettino said. "The performance was amazing. I am very happy for the players and very happy for the supporters. We had an amazing performance and not just the final result but the way that we played was outstanding.

"It is very true that there have been games in the past where we have played very well but the final result has not showed that. That did not happen this time. I think overall we are still a developing team, a growing team, we are still improving. The result is very important for our development as a team and I am just very happy overall with the performance of the players.''

So dominant was the display from his team that it overshadowed the sub-plots of Alan Pardew's return after a three-match stadium ban and the fact this was referee Andre Marriner's first match since his gaffe at Stamford Bridge.

Instead, it is Southampton's England contingent that grabbed the headlines. Luke Shaw, Calum Chambers, Jack Cork and James Ward-Prowse all impressed in the 4-0 win, as did goalscorers - and World Cup hopefuls - Rodriguez, Lambert and Lallana.

"It's clear that for the three English players that we have here at Southampton it is very good to maintain those high standards they have shown over the season,'' Pochettino said of the trio. "It's only going to increase their chances of going to Brazil so it's very good for them.

"It's very good for us as well. We keep on improving as a team and we are delighting our fans with these amazing home performances. I think overall we are a team that collectively is always improving and also in an individual sense. We are seeing that every single week.''

This was hardly the performance Newcastle manager Pardew will have wanted on his return not only from a stadium ban but to his former club. Friday marked four years since he led Saints to Johnstone's Paint Trophy glory at Wembley. Lallana, Lambert and Jose Fonte remain in the starting line-up from that match against Carlisle and played a key role in Pardew's downfall on Saturday.

"The performance was lacklustre from us,'' he said. "The difference in energy levels between the two teams was marked, I thought. The emphasis of the game today was never changed because of the threat.

"We've got to threaten the game more than we did today. If you don't threaten the opposition then they're going to keep coming and that's what Southampton did. It was a great day for them. I thought they played very well, made it very difficult for us.

"That's a performance that we need to make sure never happens again. It was our lack of energy, wherever you were sitting in the stadium, that looked a problem.''

Newcastle were insipid throughout and the 2,187 travelling fans made their feelings known at the final whistle.

"What can we say? They've left at 5.30 this morning and came and watched a performance that isn't us,'' Pardew added. "I'm not really going to talk about the individual players in the team today. Collectively we have to accept responsibility.''

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