Ralph Hasenhuttl praised the passion shown by his Southampton players after they secured a hard-fought 2-1 win over Leicester City at the King Power Stadium.
The Saints began the better of the two teams and created the better of the early chances, before they then got their noses in front. They were awarded a penalty after Shane Long was fouled by Nampalys Mendy, which James Ward-Prowse duly slotted home to give his side an early lead.
They were then dealt a blow on the stroke of half time when young full back Yann Valery was shown his second yellow card for a foul on Marc Albrighton. However, that didn’t stop Southampton from doubling their lead just 90 seconds later.
A lapse in concentration at the back from Mendy allowed Long through on goal, with the Irishman coolly tucking the ball beyond Kasper Schmeichel to double the Saints’ lead heading into the half time break. Leicester got a goal back on the hour mark through Wilfred Ndidi, however Hasenhuttl’s men defended resolutely and secured a vital 2-1 win.
Speaking with Sky Sports after the game, Hasenhuttl heaped praise on his side after a strong performance, saying: “We had to be compact in the second half and try to defend everything. I think the manner of the performance was good, showing passion.
“When they made it 2-1 I thought it would be too long for us to hold on. But the way we defended made it very difficult for the opposition to score. The longer the game went on the steadier and more balanced we were. That was the key to the success.”
Whilst it was a day to remember for the Saints fans, one player who will want to forget the afternoon in a hurry was Valery after sending his side down to 10 men having picked up his second yellow card just minutes after a flare up between Ben Chilwell and himself which resulted in his first booking.
Hasenhuttl went onto admit that whilst he was already planning to substitute the youngster at halftime with the fear of him losing his composure, he also went onto question the referee’s decision. He added: “I expected the referee to give him a warning before showing a second yellow card.
“I wanted to take him off at half-time but the chance was then gone.”
It was a fantastic performance from a Saints side who were in desperate need of a win, and Hasenhuttl will be hoping his side can replicate their performance when they host Derby in their FA Cup third round replay on Wednesday night before hosting Everton in the Premier League on Saturday afternoon