The Argentine coach praised the 28-year-old winger after Marseille’s emotional 3-1 victory over Brest. The former Newcastle man put Marseille ahead in the 88th minute before Michael Cuisance doubled their lead in stoppage time.
Despite a precious victory, Sampaoli believes his team's tactics were less influential than the emotion of the game, he told his post-match press conference: “Thauvin's goal was very important for us. Flo Thauvin really wanted to mark this evening and he came to dedicate it to me for my birthday.
"The energy that the team have been able to put in and the changes they have managed to make have enabled us to go for this victory.
"With the energy, the will, we will now be able to progress in the game. It's a victory based more on the emotional than on the tactics."
Marseille only had 1 in their 11 league matches before Sampaoli. Thauvin was happy with his new coach as Sampaoli was able to turn the things around for the Ligue 1 side.
"It was a real test to see if we could put together two victories. It was not easy but we did it. There was a very important contribution from the substitutes. It allowed us to finish the match off.
"I'm happy to see OM with that [happy] face again, it's good for us, for the supporters. Hopefully we can continue. We will have a week to work well."
In addition to Thauvin, Dimitri Payet hopes OM can build on their positive start under Sampaoli.
"We must congratulate Brest who tried to play," he told Canal+.
"Between Luis Henrique and Cuisance, we saw that the substitutes were decisive, as at the start of the week [against Rennes].
"That's six points in two games, it's very encouraging for the future. This allows us to have a quieter week to rest and work."
Marseille will host Dijon on April 4.