Slaven Bilic refused to be drawn on the penalty decisions which saw off the Irons at St Mary’s this afternoon but was happy to applaud his team’s brave performance in adversity.
He said: “We showed character and we showed quality and we showed that we could cope with ten men and we could score two goals and stop them from scoring.
“To be fair, we started off so good, we had two or three chances to take the lead and we didn’t, so we were very disappointed to lose in the end.”
Discussing Chicharito he declared: “He is a goalscorer but if we’re also talking about him we must also talk about the second half, when we asked him to play on the wing because we needed to use his legs.
“We had to have two banks of four and sometimes defend with six when they attacked with their full-backs, so we have to praise him not only for his goals but also for his great attitude and great defensive work.”
“I only want to say that I’m very proud of my team and they showed everything I said – commitment, quality, character, team spirit and we never gave up.”
Questioned on the spot kicks he said: “I don’t want to talk about the penalty decisions, because there is no point talking about it. I only want to say that I’m very proud of my team and they showed everything I said – commitment, quality, character, team spirit and we never gave up.
“I don’t want to talk about the red card, either. I am the manager and I want to talk about the game and the decisions are going to lead to someone else talking about it. Of course the player is disappointed, but I am going to talk about the quality of the game and not about the decisions.
“It’s very hard to play with ten men, especially as we were already one goal down. We then conceded a second goal and it was difficult to come back. On paper it was very difficult to keep it to 2-0, but we showed character and commitment and that we are fit enough to do it for each other.
“As soon as we equalised, we defended how you are meant to defend, very deep, and we waited for our chances and we got them. It was our gameplan at half-time and unfortunately we conceded a third one late on.”