Ralph Hasenhüttl reserved praise for striker Shane Long after his record-breaking goal helped Saints to earn a precious point in the 1-1 draw against Watford.
Long’s tenacity in closing down Craig Cathcart’s clearance from kick-off saw him run through before coolly dinking the ball over Ben Foster after just 7.69 seconds – the quickest strike in Premier League history.
And Hasenhüttl feels that the Republic of Ireland international is reaping the rewards of his hard work, in a style of football that is perfectly suited to him.
“It was a fantastic goal, a fantastic run and the finish is how we want to see him. People very often call him as a striker who cannot score but in the last four games he has shown he can do this,” the Saints boss said.
“The centre-back maybe didn’t expect that he was so quick so it was a little bit surprising for him. Even if you have such a ball win then you must score after this. It’s not so easy for it to bounce off the back and then come to a good finish.
“I’m very happy with him and it’s a joy to watch him play at the moment because he’s always working for the team and keeps the ball in front.
“We play a style of football that fits him because we need the quick players up front. He’s experienced, a fantastic character and everybody loves him. They love him even more when he scores.
“It’s nice because he now has goals for the hard work he does.”