LONDON, Dec 18 (Reuters) - Southampton manager Claude Puel joined the chorus of praise for Jay Rodriguez after the stand-in striker scored two goals that helped them to win Sunday’s south-coast derby at Bournemouth 3-1.
“I am happy for the players and for Jay Rod,” he told the BBC.
”It was difficult for Jay with his long injury (last season) and he came back step by step. He has played three or four games since the injury of Charlie Austin.
“He did good work for the team, good pressing and it is a pleasure to see him happy.”
Puel picked Rodriguez in place of Ireland international Shane Long as one of six changes to freshen up a squad that has played twice a week for the past month.
Having given Northern Ireland’s Steven Davis a rest he then introduced him at halftime to add some dynamism to Saints’ midfield.
”It was difficult in the first half,“ the manager added. ”The entrance of Davis in the second half permitted the players, all of the team, to push and go forward and score the second goal and make a fantastic second half.
”It was important to come back in the second half with a good attitude, strong in defence and to continue this play.
”I enjoyed this game for all of the players and for all of my squad because it was an important game, against a good opponent, with quality on the pitch.
“It was a good balance between the two teams in the first half, with possibilities for Bournemouth and Southampton.” (Reporting by Steve Tongue; Editing by Clare Fallon)