Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has praised Southampton, after they beat the south coast club 2-1 at Old Trafford.
Southampton went ahead in the third minute on Wednesday through Jay Rodriguez before a brace from Wayne Rooney put Manchester United in front by half-time and while the home side held on for the three points, Ferguson was impressed by the visitors.
Mauricio Pochettino’s team dominated United after the break and the home team needed a good save from David de Gea to keep out Rickie Lambert’s late free-kick and secure the three points, prompting Ferguson to claim he has not seen better opposition this season than Southampton.
“In the second half Southampton played probably the best any team has played here this season,” Ferguson said.
“I thought they were very, very good.”
While Pochettino seemed chuffed to have received Ferguson’s praise, he maintained it did not mean much as Southampton continue to fight for survival in the English Premier League.
“His words don’t really serve as a consolation to me,” Pochettino said.
“But I want to say thank you for those words and it also reinforces the way that we want the team to go forward.”
Ferguson also expressed his delight at Michael Carrick’s response to his involvement in Rodriguez’s opening goal.
The defensive midfielder’s chipped back-pass was awkward for de Gea and while some commentators were scathing of the Spanish goalkeeper’s effort, Ferguson believed Carrick did the right thing by admitting he was in the wrong.
“Michael’s pass back was a bit soft and Michael held his hand up,” Ferguson said.
“It’s great to see that, honest players like Michael saying ‘Sorry boss, sorry lads.’