For 85 minutes Southampton matched and often bettered Tottenham, but Spurs star Bale popped up yet again in the dying minutes to rifle home a superb 25-yard drive that gave the home side a crucial 1-0 win.
"He is not on the same level as Diego Maradona or Lionel Messi yet, but Bale is one of the top 10 players in the world today," Pochettino said.
"He could play for any side in the world, in any league in the world.
"Perhaps I made a mistake when I said Tottenham were not a one man team.
"We didn't deserve to lose but one special, amazing moment from Gareth Bale and all that hard work was undone."