Ralph Hasenhüttl hailed the spirit of his tight-knit Southampton squad as his young charges dug deep for another gutsy result with 10 men.
Just as they did against Tottenham last time out in the Premier League, Saints battled for the majority of the game a man light – in this case for more than 90 minutes at Swansea in the Emirates FA Cup third round.
Hasenhüttl’s side led 1-0 through Nathan Redmond’s early goal at the time of Yan Valery’s 29th-minute dismissal, before Swansea drew level 13 minutes from time and then took the lead early in extra time.
But the boss admits it comes at some cost, with only three days until the next league outing against Brentford, especially with right-backs Tino Livramento (injury), Kyle Walker-Peters (Covid) and now Valery (suspended) all currently sidelined.
“In the end it was only hard work today, and something that we didn’t want to have in the first round, for us, of the FA Cup,” Hasenhüttl said.
“When you are one man down for nearly 90 minutes it is not the best preparation for our Brentford game, so the biggest laughers today are Brentford because they know that we have invested a lot.
“We have come to the next round, which is good, and we wanted to stay in this competition. You could see it – we were fighting for it and the team did a very intense, good job.
“I must say this season we have a very good atmosphere in the team. We are absolutely growing and I think we have a dressing room that is very, very committed.
“In such games it helps massively, because they don’t want to lose – they want to fight and this is what you need in such a game.
“We are in the next round, which is the positive thing, and now we have to recover well and hope that we don’t have more Covid cases, because on a few positions we are running out of players, so hopefully we can avoid any new infections.
“Five subs is good for us – I always say it, because we have alternatives from the bench and when you bring a fresh player in the end it is always helpful. This was the reason why we could push and had the power to get back in the game.”