Southampton captain James Ward-Prowse hailed a determined display on Saturday, which helped his side earn a 0-0 draw at Manchester City that could have proved far more fruitful.
With City having not dropped any points since opening day - and scoring at least five goals in their last three home games - a trip to the Etihad seemed an ominous one for Saints at the start of the afternoon.
Fast forward a few hours and Ralph Hasenhüttl’s side come away from their trip to the champions feeling a touch aggrieved at what they came away with, something skipper Ward-Prowse feels highlights the side’s recent development.
“Last year this was a game we would have lost, given a sloppy goal away,” he said following the game. “To come away from one of the best teams in the world with a point, we can be extremely proud.
“You know the quality that City have got and you’re aware of their record. You’re going to have to have a good game plan, determination, dig in when you need to and a bit of luck. I think we had all of that today.
“At the start of the week when you’re preparing for the game, you know you’re going to be in for a tough one. It’s been a great week of preparation and I think we showed real maturity today in the way that we played.
Much of those aggrievances can be put to down to an overturned red card and penalty which were initially in favour of Saints on the hour mark. A decision later reversed after a check with the VAR.
“It was strange, it didn’t add up for me. To go from a penalty and a red card to absolutely nothing; it didn’t work out in my mind.
“They bought De Bryune on and you could sense the team and the crowd were lifted from that moment. It could’ve gone their way but I think we showed maturity and the progression that we have made.
“We were defensively solid, we only lacked that last transitional pass, that killer instinct in front of goal, so it could have been an even better afternoon.”