Southampton's first win of the season eased tensions at St Mary's and knocked Stoke off the top of the Championship on Saturday.
George Burley, the Saints manager, suffered a setback on Friday when the striker Kenwyne Jones refused to play, intent on securing a move to a Premier League club. Sunderland and Derby are understood to have made offers.
"We were all desperate for that first win and it was a bit nervy at 3-2," Burley said. "One goal is never enough and Stoke are very strong at set plays, so we had to nullify that. We did very well for an hour or so at Norwich last week and felt we deserved something from the game, but this time we got the win we merited.
"We have made a statement [about Jones] and now we move on. All the speculation has not been great for anyone, but we will see what happens. At the moment, he is still contracted to Southampton.
"We are looking stronger now. We did not have enough strength when we played Palace in our opening game, but it has helped getting Wayne Thomas in and Darren Powell back.
"At the end of the day, all I can do is work with the players on the pitch. Since I've been at the club, I've had no interference. The chairmen have always supported me. We had to bring some finances in, in the summer, and if a new owner comes, well, I think 'great', and if not, well..."
Stoke opened the scoring through Ricardo Fuller and dominated until Andrew Surman equalised nine minutes before the interval. They stayed on top after the break, when Kelvin Davis produced a string of saves, but Grzegorz Rasiak headed the hosts ahead after 71 minutes and John Viafara scored four minutes later. Jon Parkin replied in vain with an 82nd-minute header.Reuse content