James Ward-Prowse believes Southampton’s players answered any critics with a performance full of courage at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.
Saints were ultimately left with nothing to show for their efforts against the Premier League champions, as hosts Manchester City fought back from a goal down to snatch victory late on.
But Ward-Prowse felt his teammates showed just the right attitude to push City to their limits, proving their desire to improve.
“You can’t question the lads’ commitment,” he said. “Obviously, I’m with the team every day and I know them very, very well – not only as footballers, but as people.
“We came here on Tuesday and we came here today, and we’ve made stepping stones, so for people to question our commitment, you could see that’s definitely not the case.
“That’s the most important thing for us – for us to come off the pitch, regardless of the result and performance, to show the character and belief in what we’re trying to do.
“You could see that right through the game, and also the quality we’ve got going forward at times. All in all, it was a positive performance.
“If we can do that against a strong Man City side, that’s the standard moving forward. That’s what the manager said – we’ve shown what we can do against a side like this, so going forward now, every team should have problems with us.
“We’re all out there together. It’s not just the team; it’s the team, the manager, the coaching staff, all the physios… everyone’s together and striving in the same direction. We’ve got a good chance of progressing if we’re all doing that for each other.”