Captain James Ward-Prowse was delighted to mark his birthday with a telling contribution at Aston Villa, as Southampton moved five unbeaten in the Premier League.
Assisting Jannik Vestergaard for the opener, the 26-year-old then netted two stunning free-kicks before the break to leave Saints in a commanding position at the halfway stage.
Tyrone Mings reduced the arrears after the restart before Danny Ings added a spectacular fourth, proving to be enough to counteract late strikes from Ollie Watkins and Jack Grealish.
Lifting Ralph Hasenhüttl’s side into the top four, Ward-Prowse was left in a buoyant mood:
“I’ve said it a couple of times, but to be playing in the Premier League, captain of this club and to score a couple of goals, it’s my boyhood dream and I’m enjoying every minute at the moment.
“Any goal in the Premier League whether it’s a tap in or a free-kick, it doesn’t matter and helped us to the three points today.
James ward-prowseto come away with three points and be where we are in the table is a real positive step.
“We knew they’d come out and weren’t just going to sit back and take the defeat. We still had to be aggressive against the ball.
“We were a little disrupted with the injuries, but to come away with three points from here and be where we are in the table is a real positive step.”
Having netted twice from a set play, Ward-Prowse has overtaken club legend Matt Le Tissier for free-kick strikes in the Premier League for Southampton.
Commenting, he said: “To beat a legend of the club like Matt Le Tissier is a big honour and hopefully I can extend that record soon.
“It’s nice to be rewarded for the hard work on the training ground. You have some days when they all go in and some days when don’t and they’re the ones that count.
“To score two today was very special.”