THE MIXED ZONE: Saints quartet on QPR win

By SFC Media time Mon 29 Sep Men's First team

Captain José Fonte and summer signings Toby Alderweireld, Fraser Forster and Graziano Pellè all spoke to reporters in the mixed zone after Saints’ 2-1 win over QPR on Saturday.

Here is a selection of quotes from the quartet after Ryan Bertrand’s strike and a stunning overhead volley from Pellè secured the three points for Southampton on a pleasing afternoon at St Mary’s:

Alderweireld on Pellè’s transformation since Eredivisie days and the team’s strong mentality in a tough encounter…

“It was a difficult game. In the first half we had good ball-position and created a lot of chances. Defensively, our organisation was good. We needed a bit more luck and focus up front to finish, but it was important to get the win over the line and take the three points home. We’re very happy.

“After we conceded it was 1-1, and then we have a player like this to make an impossible goal. We can be very happy with him; he’s doing very good for us. There was a lot of power from Graziano.

“It was a good game. After 1-1 we came back to win 2-1, so mentally it’s a very big step for us.

“It’s a dream but we have to work hard. We have to see if we can beat Tottenham next Sunday. We have to be focused; we have to stay calm. We’ve had a great start to the season but the Premier League is very hard.

“I played him (Pellè) before in Holland between Feyenoord and Ajax. He’s getting better every day. He’s not the same Graziano from Feyenoord. He’s getting better. He’s getting used to the players [being] strong and he’s confident. You could see that in the goal I think.

“He really wants to show himself here. Maybe next Sunday he’ll make a goal like this, I hope!”

Forster on Saints’ depth, the suitability of Pellè and the need to remain calm after a fine start to the season…

“It was a fantastic performance and we can be really proud of the result. We’re on a good run and it’s just important that we keep looking one game ahead and be fully focused on playing the football we know we can play. It’s important we don’t get too far ahead and just enjoy the moment.

“We’ve got a fantastic squad. You look at the bench and the players that come on make a real difference. It’s important that we keep everyone fit and take it a game at a time.

“He (Pellè) has got that in the locker and it was worthy of winning any game. He’s been great for us from the start of the season and he’s really produced the goods up front and scored goals at important times.

“He’s so strong, a great target man. He’ll hold the ball up for us well and he’s got a great touch as well. He’s good with the ball at his feet as well as in the air; he’s the perfect frontman for us.”

Fonte on Southampton’s ambition…

“Everyone expected us to drop our level and standards, but we showed as a club and a group of players our qualities, our passion and strong mentality. This club is a winning club.

“Whoever comes here needs to understand that we’re going forward, we’re going upwards. That’s how we do it here – we try to win every game. I’m pleased that we’ve been showing that we can compete and be at the very top.”

Pellè on his goal, the demands of the Premier League and his hopes for international recognition…

“Usually, Dušan [Tadić], when the ball comes he brings it onto his left. We like to play with each other and I just felt like he was going to pass me with his head. I expected it and scored an amazing goal – I’m really happy. I do these things often during training. I like to do them.

“I have to be honest – it was not so easy in the beginning. I came to England a month before the start of the season and then I had a bit of time to adapt myself.

“After one or two games I realised I had to do more than I did before in the past. In Holland I could give 80 percent but here you have to give 110 percent. I’m happy with how things are going now.

“All the games are difficult. All the teams from the lowest to the top are good, organised and strong.

“I believe in myself. If I was not even a small thought of the [Italy] trainer it would be strange. I think I deserve to be considered for the national team at this moment, but I don’t pretend to be selected. There are other players that deserve like I do.

“At the end of the list there are only five offensive players in for selection, and to be in the five for Italy is not easy. We know how many good players Italy has.

“I’m just happy with what I’m doing. It’s nine years after I was an Under-21 and I’ve never been in the national team. Of course I would like it, but for me now the focus is to do good with Southampton. If it comes, I’ll be super happy to go.”

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