Belfast Telegraph

Leicester boss Claude Puel refuses to revel in Southampton success

Claude Puel refused to rub salt into Southampton's wounds after inspiring Leicester to a 4-1 rout over his former club at St Mary's.

Frenchman Puel even effectively thanked Southampton for allowing him to improve as a manager, despite being sacked by the Saints' hierarchy in the summer.

Shinji Okazaki's brace and further goals from Riyad Mahrez and Andy King sealed Leicester's fourth successive Premier League win, with Southampton only mustering Maya Yoshida's bundled effort.

Puel guided Saints to an eighth-place Premier League finish and the League Cup final last term and still lost his job - but rejected the chance to labour his personal triumph on his return to face his old employers.

"I said before the game, my feeling was always to keep chasing for positive results when I was at Southampton," said Puel.

"And I tried to give my best here, I think we had some fantastic games and results. We tried to develop a lot of players also.

"That was a good feeling, a positive thing.

"It was a great introduction to the Premier League and perhaps allowed me to become a better manager.

"Of course it was a strange feeling to come back here.

"It was nice to see familiar faces, we had kept a good understanding and good relationship with a lot of people, players and staff.

"It was important to come back, and to try to keep the focus on the game for my players and my team. But of course it's a pleasure to see all these people again."

Pressed on whether he can derive pleasure from Leicester's current form in a bid to disprove his former reputation for producing boring football, Puel again kept his counsel.

"Again, this is a feeling for other people, I'm just giving my players an opportunity to play in a style against opponents with quality," said the Leicester manager.

"We try to play on the floor, but of course we can make more progress and we need to continue this work and just focus and concentrate on our own play.

"And hopefully we can continue with good results for the future.

"Of course, it's a good thing, to win away and with quality in the game against a good team, and to start this game with fantastic intensity was good.

"The first half was fantastic, fantastic play and goals.

"It was important in the second half to keep this level and to prevent them coming back into the game. Once they scored it was important for us to score a fourth."

Mauricio Pellegrino apologised to Southampton's supporters for his side's performance, as the Saints made it just one win in eight games.

"We showed a completely different face from Sunday," said Pellegrino, referring to the 1-1 draw with Arsenal.

Asked what went wrong, Pellegrino continued: "Everything. I'll say sorry to the fans, because you can lose, but not in this way."

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