Ralph Hasenhüttl said he was proud of his Southampton team for the bravery they showed in battling back from behind to defeat Watford at St Mary’s.
Saints found themselves trailing to Ismaïla Sarr’s first-half opener until the 78th minute, when Danny Ings pounced to score his ninth goal of the season and spark a wave of positivity that ultimately carried Hasenhüttl’s men to victory.
The defining moment was provided by James Ward-Prowse, who stepped up to score the winner with a trademark free-kick seven minutes from time.
“It is a win – it doesn’t really feel in the moment like a win, because it was a very, very tough game for everybody to watch,” Hasenhüttl admitted, in an honest assessment.
“In the first half, you could feel the pressure on our shoulders and it was absolutely not what we wanted to show, but I think we can be very proud of the second half, because we then started to be braver, better with the ball and had a good impact from the subs.
“In the end, I’m proud of the guys. They turned the table, scored two goals and had a lot of chances in the second half, and then had six minutes’ overtime to defend two or three set-pieces, which, in that moment, is always nasty, but they did it in a good way. I think we deserved to win.”
The boss is not underestimating the significance of Saints’ first home win of the season – particularly with another crucial game at St Mary’s lying in wait in just four days’ time, against Norwich.
“It’s important for everybody,” he added. “We knew that we had a lot of pressure today and it was a very, very important game ahead of the next weeks.
“Everyone could feel in the first moments that it was really difficult, but in the end the most important thing is the result, and not too much about analysing what was good and what was bad.
“Now we have that first win, which gives us a lift, absolutely. It’s important for the next home game, against Norwich, because we are still under the line and we need another win, so we have to take this chance.”