A delighted Nathan Jones spoke of the pride in his team after they ended a tough week by coming from behind at Crystal Palace to book a place in the fourth round of the FA Cup.
Saints fell behind to Odsonne Édouard's early goal at Selhurst Park, but they responded well and levelled through James Ward-Prowse before half-time, with Adam Armstrong then dispossessing Palace keeper Vicente Guaita on 68 minutes to score the winner.
After Wednesday night's defeat at home to Nottingham Forest in the Premier League, the result came as a welcome boost for Jones's side.
"I'm really delighted," said the Southampton manager. "It's a small step, but it's against a Premier League side that were very strong and they have a real tough side to play against. They have a front four that's really exciting, so you have to defend well and I thought we did apart from one instance today.
"Apart from that, I thought we defended fantastically well and showed real character to come from behind, especially with a tough week that we've had. We showed real character, real desire, we were aggressive, and we will get better at doing that, and at times we showed real quality.
"James Ward-Prowse once again, with the deliveries he put in, was outstanding and then real aggression to go and get the second goal, because Arma came and pressed the keeper and showed real desire, and we showed that all afternoon. I'm really pleased and I'm proud of my football club today, because we've showed a lot of character.
"We made a lot of changes today, some were forced because of injury – some couldn't travel today because of injury – some we had to rest because with a three-game week we couldn't force stuff on them, so we showed that the squad is good and ready to go, and I'm really happy with how we worked today and very proud of the group and proud of the coaching staff, because myself and the staff have had to take a lot of stick this week and we just showed that we've got a decent pair of shoulders, because it's tough at times."
Jones added: "We can't get carried away with one win and we won't get carried away, but it shows that there's character there, it shows there's a structure and it shows we can be an aggressive side if we really want to, and then with a few additions in January – because we are working really hard to do that – then we can add quality as well, and if we can do that and then show our qualities then we can start to put results together."