José Fonte revealed that the hurt of previous matches at Upton Park that didn’t go Saints’ way spurred the team onto victory in east London on Saturday.
Fonte was pleased to finally lay the ghost to rest on a record that read two defeats and one draw at the Boleyn Ground by coming back from Mark Noble’s 27th-minute goal down to record a comfortable 3-1 success, thanks to a pair of strikes from Morgan Schneiderlin and another from Graziano Pellè.
Speaking to BBC Radio Solent after the game, the team captain highlighted his glee at Saints’ first league win of the season.
He said: “For the past three or four years we’ve been coming here and we played them off the park and played so much better than them but still we didn’t win, especially two years ago when we lost 4-1 – that was really hurtful.
“We came here today with that in our minds, with the feeling that today had to be the day that we get the win here and we did everything perfect today apart from the goal conceded – it was a little bit soft and was a little bit disappointing from our point of view, because I think we deserved a clean sheet today as we dominated the whole game.”
Saints particularly asserted their dominance during the second-half of the game, with Fonte pointing to the equalising goal from Schneiderlin as a significant moment.
“It was massively important the goal from Morgan just before the half-time,” the defender explained.
“We went into the dressing room and said ‘listen we just need to move into the next gear and we will win this game’ and that’s what we did.
“We came out with belief and confidence in the second-half and with the way and style that we play in. The philosophy from the last year and the mentality of the players is to win games and play good football so I’m just happy that we got to the end with a good win.”
A first league victory of the season, means Saints head into the international break with back-to-back wins in all competitions, and Fonte says the squad will remain in high spirits at the training ground until the team’s next game against Newcastle United at St Mary’s in a fortnight’s time.
“We go to the international break with good feeling,” he described.
“We can work at the training ground feeling happy, and hopefully when we have you home game after the international weekend, we can get another win so that we can say what a great start we had to the season.”