Ward-Prowse: We wanted to react

By SFC Media time Sun 24 Apr Brighton vs Saints
Photo by Matt Watson | James Ward-Prowse

James Ward-Prowse praised a positive response from Southampton as they came from behind to claim a valuable point over Brighton in the Premier League on Sunday.

The Saints captain put on an inspired display, netting in the closing stages of injury time in the first half to reduce the two goal defecit. 

It was a shaky performance from Saints in the first half, but the goal before half-time buoyed Hasenhüttl’s side onto an entirely different second half performance.

“It was end-to-end, a really good atmosphere to play in,” confessed the Saints captain. “We wanted to react well from the other night to the Burnley fixture and it wasn’t the greatest of starts.

“This happens sometimes in the Premier League and we varied the way we played a little bit today and wanted to play in their half. I think that suited the personnel we had on the pitch and I think the lads who came in were brilliant.

“When you’re going through difficult times it’s about doing the basics well and fighting and we certainly did that today.

“I think it says a lot about the group that we’ve got. When you are going through a difficult time you need to look around and believe that everybody is on the same page and first and foremost working as hard as they can, that’s a given when you step on to the football pitch and they all did that.

“We got a good goal just before half-time which gave us momentum going into the second.”

Saints fans are accustomed to seeing Ward-Prowse net from a set-piece, but it was clear he took a slightly different approach when firing towards Sanchez’ goal.

“You have to do your research. There are always little bits that I’m looking at thinking could I try this, could I try that? The picture is always different when you’re taking a free kick. The wall could keep it quite big or there’s little areas that I can exploit and that was one I wanted to exploit today.

BRIGHTON, ENGLAND - APRIL 24: James Ward-Prowse of Southampton scores from a free kick during the Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Southampton at American Express Community Stadium on April 24, 2022 in Brighton, England. (Photo by Matt Watson/Southampton FC via Getty Images)
Ward-Prowse opted for a low shot to score Saints' opener (Photo: Matt Watson) 

“Half-time came at the wrong moment for us, we wanted to continue. We were on the ascendency and you could feel they weren’t wanting to play their normal style.

“I think they were a little bit afraid of our pressing and the way that we play. It gives credit to us to stay in the game and to compete the way we did was special today.”

Renowned as a dead-ball specialist, Ward-Prowse presented his excellence in open play as he secured the all important equaliser.

“It was a nice moment that I’ve waited for on the edge of the box. I didn’t expect Oriol to produce the old back heel, I think that’s something he learned in the Barca academy.

“It’s something I’ve seen a few times in the head tennis but a great assist from Ori and I just wanted to strike it as well as I could. To see the reaction of the away end erupt, that’s what football is all about.”

Although plenty of positives can be taken from Southampton’s performance, it was a hugely disappointing afternoon for Tino Livramento who had to be withdrawn shortly after the hour mark.

“For Tino, everybody was a little bit shook up and shocked from what we saw. Of course, we don’t know the extent of the injury at the moment, but I think that moment kind of spurred us on in the game and we wanted to get back in the game for him.

BRIGHTON, ENGLAND - APRIL 24: James Ward-Prowse of Southampton celebrates scoring their side's second goal during the Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Southampton at American Express Community Stadium on April 24, 2022 in Brighton, England. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
James Ward-Prowse makes the shape of a T to celebrate his second goal against Brighton (Photo: Getty Images)

“When he joined the club, in his first few weeks, he didn’t say a word to anyone, and I was thinking ‘come on!’

“But he’s really come out of his shell and his performances have excelled everybody’s expectations. It’s a real shame but it’s up to us now to get behind him and give him everything he needs to come back bigger, better and stronger.”

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