Mohamed Elyounoussi hailed Southampton’s character, as the team completed an unbeaten week with a gutsy fightback against Premier League leaders Arsenal at St Mary’s.
Trailing to Granit Xhaka’s early opener, Saints stayed in the game and grew in confidence after half time, prompting Elyounoussi to set up Stuart Armstrong for a 65th-minute equaliser.
The Norwegian praised his teammates for having the courage to keep playing out from the back, which is ultimately how the move that earned a point came about.
“It was a good point for us, obviously,” he said. “After a bad run of games, we had to break that against West Ham, and Bournemouth was a good game as well.
“After a tough start to this game, conceding a goal so early on made it a bit difficult, obviously, but I think after we changed the shape we started to play more and more football, with more and more confidence on the ball, more composure, and you could see that on the goal we scored as well.
“I think we showed character. What I loved the most is that even though sometimes we played out from behind and it didn’t work, we still kept doing that.
“I know the crowd can be frustrated by that but that’s how the goal came – we let them press us high, we played through them and with a switch to the other side I found myself free there.
“Initially I wanted to go in and shoot, but I saw Stuey in a better position, so I had to assist him.”
Shortly before Saints’ equaliser, Elyounoussi produced a pivotal piece of defensive work to halt Gabriel Jesus in full flight as the Brazilian raced through on goal in pursuit of a 2-0 lead.
“I found myself in a strange position today as a wing-back – I’ve never played there before,” he said, after Saints switched from a back four to a back five at half time.
“Normally it’s the other way around, where I’m getting played through, but I could read the situation early on that he’s going to be played through.
“He had a couple of metres in front of me, but I managed to chase him and get a good block in the end.
“I think that is the first time in my career I’ve ever blocked a shot, defensively-wise, but I’m happy to contribute wherever I play.”