Ralph Hasenhüttl has spoken of his pride for the whole club after he capped a memorable 2019/20 season by winning the Premier League's Manager of the Month award for July.
Saints went unbeaten in their final six games of the prolonged campaign, beating Manchester City, Bournemouth and Sheffield United, while drawing with Manchester United, Everton and Brighton during the month.
That run helped propel the team up to 11th position in the table at the season's end, earning Hasenhüttl the honour of becoming the first ever Austrian to pick up one of the Premier League's managerial accolades.
"I'm very proud for my team, for the whole club to be honest," he said. "Everybody did a fantastic job in July. It was a hard goal to come back very strong after the lockdown, and it's wonderful everybody recognised what we did and what a good job we did.
"I think it was a very intense month, to be honest. We knew we only had a short time to prepare for the season, and I think we used the time in a very, very good way.
"From the first day, you could feel the guys were fit, they were coming back in a good shape, and we could immediately work on a few deficits that we had seen in a very intense analysis of the season to that point.
"Then you start well with the first game against Norwich, then the second game, at home against Arsenal, was the only one we lost after lockdown, but even there you could see we were getting better and getting in a way with the ball that we haven't shown so far, and this was the goal for these games. I think we played very bravely and tried to make the next step in our development, and in the end we got the good results because we played bravely and were very committed."
ralph hasenhüttlwe like to play against the strong teams, as they really show us what we have to learn and how good we are.
Reflecting on some of the individual matches, Hasenhüttl said: "Especially the game at home against Man City, this was an outstanding game.
"You have to say we had also luck to win this game, but it was important to show ourselves that we were able to compete against such a team. It's still unbelievable that we took a win against such a team. We had luck, and nearly every player played fantastic, otherwise it's not possible to win against such a team.
"Against Man United I think we were still one step further in our development. We showed especially the first 20 minutes a fantastic away game, like always in the season, against an in-form team and, in the end, I think it was a deserved point we took there. We like to play against these strong teams, they really show us what we have to learn and how good we are."