Appleton allows himself to be caught up in the special moment

Michael Appleton and David Norris enjoy the moment
Michael Appleton and David Norris enjoy the moment

To anyone who thinks that football managers don’t care as much as supporters, Michael Appleton’s celebrations at Pompey’s last-gasp equaliser would suggest otherwise.

There were shades of Jose Mourinho’s celebratory sprint up the Old Trafford touchline many moons ago as David Norris’ volley flew past Kelvin Davis.

And Appleton admitted he had been caught up in the moment like never before in a memorable south coast derby.

Appleton said: ‘It was right up there with my best ever moment in football.

‘I think my celebration pretty much said it all,’ Appleton added.

‘I’m not normally one who gets too emotional or too carried away when we score a goal but I think my emotions got the better of me a little bit.

‘The lads have been taking the mickey and calling me Mourinho because I was halfway down the touchline when Chuck’s (Norris) volley flew in.

‘I was very close to jumping in with the fans but then I thought I might have started a riot so I had to think for a second!’

Seeing the frenzied scenes in the away section at St Mary’s, there will be 3,000 Pompey fans who will certainly forgive Appleton for any perceived loss of emotional control.

The Blues boss lead the mass exodus from the away dugout to join in the celebrations.

And the man who normally portrays such a cool, calm and collected persona on the touchline will now see his popularity among Pompey fans soar further.

Appleton said: ‘It’s so hard to keep your emotions in check in a game like that.

‘I was probably a lot more animated than usual in this one.

‘But I realise how important this game is to our fans and to both sets of fans in this part of the world.

‘You do get caught up in it – you wouldn’t be human if you didn’t.

‘You’ve just got to get that balance right to enjoy the moment but to be a professional and stick to the task in hand.

‘But sometimes, you really don’t have a choice about how you react.’

Jamie Ashdown made at least two world-class saves as Southampton perhaps created more clear-cut goalscoring opportunities.

But it was Pompey who scored two quality goals to silence the home fans and delight Appleton.

He said: ‘I know Jamie had to make a couple of good saves but I didn’t feel our goal was under barrage at any point.

‘We defended pretty well but the only disappointment was that we conceded from a couple of set-plays.

‘We need to be stronger than that, even though they (Saints) have fantastic delivery from dead-ball situations.

‘But what pleased me was the reaction from the players and the quality of our goals.

‘For Chris’ strike, nobody expected him to shoot from there.

‘The keeper hadn’t set himself and if you hit things early, you surprise goalkeepers.

‘Kelvin Davis was stunned that he hit it as true and as hard as he did.

‘And we know that Chuck has got good quality.

‘The only thing that would have let him down if he hadn’t caught it properly would have been his concentration.

‘He had to wait a long time as the ball was coming down.

‘But he hit it true and it was real quality.

‘The keeper had no chance.’