Ronald Koeman hailed his players’ character after they made it six wins in a row with a hard-fought victory over Queens Park Rangers this afternoon.
After a momentous away success against Arsenal in midweek, the Saints boss said that maintaining their run against newly-promoted Rangers would be a stern test.
But, after goals from Ryan Bertrand and Graziano Pellè sandwiched Charlie Austin’s equaliser, Koeman was left suitably pleased.
“A good win, but a difficult one,” the manager told youtube.com/southamptonfc after the game.
“We knew that it’d be tough today because they play with a good organisation and they are a little bit more defensive than we like to play.
“In the first 45 minutes, we lacked a little bit of sharpness in the box, but in the second half the game was much more open.
“All credit to QPR because they’d played a fantastic second half, but the boys showed a lot of character.
“There was a difficult moment in the game after it went one-one, but we showed our character to come back,” he continued.
“After making it two-one, we had to kill the game. We had to fight until the last second – that’s the spirit we need to keep our ambition.
“After Tuesday, we knew it’d be very tough so this is a great feeling.
“This was about keeping the spirit up after that, because expectation is higher than it was at the start of the season.”
Koeman had words of praise for striker Pellè, whose superb overhead kick settled matters at St Mary’s. “It will be one of the goals of the season,” said the manager.
“You don’t see a lot of goals like that. It was a great goal. Normally those are the fourth or the fifth in a game, but this made it 2-1, so it’s even more important.
“Sometimes he tries that in training sessions. He’s a tall guy, but on his feet he is very fast and explosive – I knew that, but to score in this way is very difficult and that makes the goal even better.”