It was double delight for Saints striker Shane Long on Wednesday night, as he got his first goal for the club in the 3-2 Capital One Cup win against Stoke City.
The striker, signed from Hull City in the summer, netted his first goal in a Saints shirt just before the half-hour mark to give Ronald Koeman’s side a 2-0 lead.
Although they were pegged back in the second half by a resurgent Stoke side, Long’s strike partner Graziano Pellè grabbed the winning goal late on to send Saints into the Capital One Cup quarter-finals.
Speaking to youtube.com/SouthamptonFC after netting his first Saints goal, Long said: “It was a great cup game. It was end-to-end in the second half. I felt a bit sorry for Stoke at the end because they gave it everything.
“But it was good to show our character to pull us through. Obviously getting a goal was on my mind and I am delighted to have got off the mark, but it wasn’t getting me down too much.
“Stoke went a lot more direct in the second half and put us under pressure. Before that first goal we were dealing with it well. When you’re 2-1 up you tend to drop off a little bit.
“We had a few chances to kill the game off and make it 3-1. We’ve been tested a few times this season and we’ve come out on the winning side. It is always nice to have that character in the dressing room.
“It is important the whole team is playing well and that we are winning. We’re currently second in the league and enjoying a good cup run, so that is all that matters.
“A cup run is always good, it keeps the club on a high, we’re playing well in the league but sometimes fringe players get a run out in the cup. Matt Targett came in at left-back and looked like he’d played there for ages.”
Long was pleased to see Pellè keep up his impressive form in front of goal, with the striker firing Saints into the lead with a great finish, before smashing home the winner late on to take his tally for the season to nine in all competitions.
“Davo [Steven Davis] and I were about to get at him for not passing and then we saw it curl in. He has that quality, he can fish out a goal,” he added.
“He’s started the season on fire. It was a bit of a messy goal to win it but Graziano will never miss one like that. The whole team has been scoring the goals. We’ve got off to a good start, we’ve got a good squad and we want to build on it.”