LONDON • Mauricio Pochettino is hoping his latest victorious return to Southampton will have a similar effect on Tottenham Hotspur's season to the previous one.
Spurs came from behind on Wednesday to win 4-1 at St Mary's and move to within a point of Arsenal in fourth place in the Premier League table.
Pochettino, who left Southampton to take over at Spurs in May 2014, saw his side beat his former employers 2-0 in December last year.
That was the start of a sequence of results that saw Tottenham win eight of their next 10 Premier League games and lose just once, to eventual champions Leicester.
Could this victory act as a springboard for another surge up the table? Pochettino was hopeful that would prove to be the case.
"Why not?" he said. "It has been a very good year for us, we have got 71 points over it and we are still fighting for the big things.
"It was an important three points for us. All the big sides above us all won their games and it was important to get the three points to keep our position in the table and have the possibility to move on."
Southampton took the lead after just 69 seconds through defender Virgil van Dijk but Dele Alli equalised in the 19th minute against the run of play.
Harry Kane made it 2-1 from a corner seven minutes into the second half and the Saints were reduced to 10 men soon after when Nathan Redmond was sent off for impeding Alli in the box.
Kane missed the resulting penalty but late goals from substitute Son Heung Min and Alli sealed an emphatic victory.
"In the first 10 minutes, we struggled to manage the game but we started to show our character and in the second half we were much, much, much better," Pochettino said.
"The win says a lot about character and personality. I am very pleased, not only because we won but the character we showed coming back from 1-0 down so early.
"I don't know if the sending-off was a key action that changed the game because at that moment, we were dominating the game and creating a lot of chances. It was difficult to see if it was a penalty or not but it was a very fair result."
He also said he did not see the incident where Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen appeared to claw his hand over the face of Southampton striker Jay Rodriguez.
Referee Mike Dean did not take action, but should the referee admit that he did not see the incident then it could be referred to a Football Association panel, which could charge Vertonghen with violent conduct that carries a three-game ban.
The centre-back was booked for dissent in the dying moments, his fifth yellow card of the season, earning him a suspension for the match away to Watford on Sunday.
Tottenham will also be without Kyle Walker after he too collected his fifth booking of the season, although Toby Alderweireld is expected to return from a virus that sidelined him on Wednesday.
The result left Southampton in eighth place and manager Claude Puel was not happy with Dean for punishing Redmond.
Puel said that Redmond stumbled, making the collision with Alli accidental, and that it cost his side the chance of picking up points.
"It seemed from the bench it was two players fighting for the ball," Puel said.
"It was difficult to accept this decision. This red card changed the philosophy of the game. It was the end for us."
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, THE TIMES, LONDON