Puel praises Southampton fight after Inter win

After the Saints came from behind to win against Serie A opponents in the Europa League, French coach hailed the spirit of his side

Southampton manager Claude Puel lauded his team’s response in their 2-1 comeback win over Inter in the Europa League.

A Mauro Icardi goal put the Serie A giants ahead at St Mary’s on Thursday, and Dusan Tadic was denied from the penalty spot before the break.

Van Dijk leads Saints comeback

But a Virgil van Dijk effort and own goal from Yuto Nagatomo saw the hosts to their win, which lifted Southampton to seven points and into second in Group K.

“I think it was a fantastic game for my players, because all the scenarios were against us tonight,” Puel said via the club’s official website.

“We dominated the first half, but we went 1-0 down and just before half-time we missed a penalty.

“There were also many saves from the opponent’s goalkeeper [Samir Handanovic], but we persisted and all the players kept their calm and quality on the pitch, and we came back to score this first goal with Virgil and then after with the second.

“All the team were rewarded tonight.”

Van Dijk felt his side deserved their victory against Inter, who are bottom of the group with just one win from four.

Saints seal historic win

“The most important thing was that it was well deserved as well,” the Saints captain told BT Sport.

“We played good football, we were the dominating side, like before in Milan [a 1-0 defeat in the previous meeting in October], and today we rewarded ourselves with a win.”