Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhüttl took some time to admire the ever-developing spine of his side ahead of the return to St Mary’s on Saturday.
Saints named the same starting eleven for last week’s trips to Tottenham and Manchester United, rewarded for doing so with four points from a possible six.
It’s only the third time this season Hasenhüttl hasn’t tinkered with his side for consecutive games; the other two occasions being Everton away and Manchester United at home, then Brentford at home followed by Wolves away.
In a season laden with fixture congestions and COVID postponements, amongst other things, it’s a feat that cannot be ignored.
“I tried to give the team that did well at Tottenham the same chance again,” explained the boss. “The confidence was there and that’s the reason why we played a good game against United also.
Ralph HasenhüttlWe've found a core now who are definitley showing they've developed their game.
on the spine of his side
“I have alternatives in every position, it’s always up to me to decide what I need in what game and this is a good thing.
“But we’ve found a core now who are definitely showing they’ve developed their game massively and the others have to follow.
“We’ve had some tough games in the past weeks and lost only against Wolves. The rest were very rough against Manchester City, Tottenham and Man United. Staying unbeaten was a massive step forward for us."