Writer: Daniel Bailey
Date:Saturday February 28 2009
Southampton boss Mark Wotte has said that his side's 'excellent spirit' was the main reason why his team picked up all three points at St Mary's this afternoon.
The 1-0 victory gave Saints their second win in a row and the Dutchman was delighted with his players' attitude and will-to-win.
Speaking to saintsfc.co.uk, Wotte said, "The spirit is the essential thing because without spirit you can't win matches. The challenge was to get back-to-back home wins and we did it," he beamed.
"The spirit was great and I think we also played some good football. We didn't take our chances as well as last week, but Cardiff are also a very strong team. The result is perfect though because you can't get more than three points!"
With all but one of Saints' relegation rivals picking up points, it meant that winning today was even more crucial, but Wotte maintains that his players have both the quality and the mentality to survive.
"We have the quality to play football but the most important thing is that they're willing to fight for each other," he added.
"Nobody is afraid of putting everything into the result and the team. I think the crowd admired that and this is the way to go on."
With Saints' defensive frailties having been in evidence for the majority of the season, fans can be forgiven for thinking that one goal wouldn't be enough to secure all three points. As it happened though, David McGoldrick's penalty proved to be decisive as Wotte's side defended well throughout.
"We defended very well and that was the most important thing to win this game. Cardiff stopped us from playing the way we wanted a little bit but I think we created quite a few chances in the first half and we could have scored a second goal.
"Kelvin Davis had to make some saves as well though, but Cardiff were not prepared for us and we were capable of stopping them scoring.
"I think the mentality of the boys, the spirit and the way they were a unit around the team with the subs and everything, shows another Southampton that is really fighting for their lives.
"When you see the other results it was a much needed win and I'm very happy for the fans and for my boys."
Wotte also took time out to praise the character shown by McGoldrick, as he stepped up to take the decisive spot-kick, despite missing one earlier in the season.
"It was a very brave decision by David McGoldrick because he missed a penalty against Watford earlier on in the season," he said. "He was confident enough to do it and that gave us three points because we won 1-0."
Saints' team spirit has been there for all to see in recent weeks, and Wotte explained the thinking behind the huddle on the pitch at the final whistle, which saw his side savour the moment of victory together before thanking the fans in each stand.
"I think we are a unit at the moment and it was a spontaneous idea. We did so well on the pitch and we wanted to thank the fans for their support and the best way to do it is all together.
"I wanted the boys to thank the fans together and everybody was in a huddle and there was some nice cheering and loud voices, happy voices, so it shows the spirit is excellent at the moment."
Date:Saturday February 28 2009
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