Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhüttl was full of praise for his side after an ‘important’ three points over Aston Villa on Friday night.

Saints got off to the perfect start inside three minutes, Adam Armstrong’s first home goal for the club an absolute rocket as St Mary’s erupted.

Aston Villa came back fighting in the second half, with Saints having to show their defensive resilience to earn their fifth clean sheet of the season.

The narrowest of margins, but it secured back-to-back victories for Hasenhüttl and his side for the first time this season.

“We worked very hard,” said a relieved Saints boss. “Seven minutes of added time is a long time. But I must say that although we were under pressure second half they didn’t have big chances and we defended properly.

“The changes we made in the game worked well I think and we have, this season, a few quality [choices] to bring into the game. That helped us today.

“We tried to have a good start today, set them on the back foot. We knew they’ve had problems; they were a bit wobbly in past weeks. This was our chance for a quick start and an early goal. We did this and this was the first step in a big win for us.

“If you would have told me last international break we would stand here and have 10 points from four games we wouldn’t believe it because it’s not so easy, there are loads of tough games in the Premier League.

“This is very important for us and we have a feeling that we are moving in the right direction.”