Southampton 2 Stoke 2
The black eye Jose Fonte received after being attacked by Dani Osvaldo has long gone but the psychological wound will “take time to heal”, with the Southampton defender admitting the Italian’s exit was best for everyone.
Signed amidst much fanfare from Roma in the summer, the club-record acquisition managed just five months of a four-year deal before being shipped out to Juventus on loan, with a view to a permanent move.
Osvaldo failed to live up to the hype at Saints, managing just three goals in 13 appearances, but it was the training-ground incident in which he headbutted team-mate Fonte that proved the final straw.
It made the 28-year-old’s position in the squad untenable and Fonte believes his exit was best for all concerned.
“There have been a couple of text messages, apologising and stuff, but some things take time to heal,” the Portuguese centre-back said.
“The spirit has always been fantastic. We have known each other for a long time and one of our best assets is the team spirit.
“Yeah, obviously he left for a reason, and it was for the best for the team and the club. We move on, I’ve moved on and he has surely moved on as well, so everything is all right.”
Asked if he had any input in Osvaldo’s exit, Fonte said: “Me? No. What can I say?
“The boss is Mauricio Pochettino and he knows what happened and decided that it would be best for the group for him to move on.”
Osvaldo’s exit may have helped team morale, but it has left Saints light up top — something highlighted in Saturday’s draw with Stoke.
Unable to bring a different creative spark off the bench, Pochettino’s side were nullified after twice seeing leads cancelled out, with Rickie Lambert and Steven Davis efforts levelled by goals from Peter Odemwingie and Peter Crouch.
“It is a disappointing day,” Fonte said. “This is one of those days when you are ahead, when you are in a winning position and you need to close up.
“We were twice in winning positions and twice conceded sloppy goals, in my view. It was a disappointing day, frustrating not to get three points at home. At the end, we went to the dressing room feeling a little bit like we could have done more than just a draw.”
Geoff Cameron was pleased by the way Stoke frustrated the hosts and reckons it was a decent follow-up performance to last weekend’s 2-1 win against Manchester United.
“It was a great team performance overall,” the American defender said. “We came back twice and walked away with a decent point.
“For us, we have a big game against Swansea on Wednesday and want to get three points there.”
SOUTHAMPTON: Boruc, Clyne (Chambers 80), Fonte, Yoshida, Shaw, Cork, Schneiderlin, Lallana, Steven Davis, Rodriguez, Lambert.
STOKE: Begovic, Cameron, Shawcross, Muniesa, Pieters, Whelan, Adam (Nzonzi 79), Odemwingie, Walters, Assaidi (Guidetti 84), Crouch.
Referee: Craig Pawson.
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