Hasenhuttl “unbelievably proud” of Southampton’s warriors

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Ralph Hasenhuttl hailed his 10-man Southampton side for digging deep to win away at Leicester City and drag themselves out of the relegation zone. 

Saints were 2-0 up at half time but had Yan Valery sent off in the 45th minute, putting them up against it in the second half. Leicester had 85 percent possession and 19 attempts at goal in the second period, but scored just once as Saints put in a valiant defensive display to secure a huge three points.

Speaking after the game, Hasenhuttl praised the mentality of his players and suggested they rather enjoyed the challenge.

“The second half was getting in the same compact with the defense and to try to defend,” Hasenhuttl said. “This manner and mainly the passion and the mentality was the winner of this game today. I thought we got too early 2-1, so it would be a long time then to get something here. The players enjoyed it. They felt the way we defend it is very difficult for the opponents to score. The longer the game went on, the more stable we were.”

Hasenhuttl also told BBC’s Match of the Day that he is “unbelievably proud” of his players.

“To be manager of this team, it’s a fantastic job,” Hasenhuttl said. “Today they showed their quality. To go 2-0 in the lead at Leicester is not easy and we defended with fantastic commitment.”

This feels like a massive moment in Southampton’s season.

Saints have dropped more points from winning positions than any other team in the Premier League this season but their players stood up to the challenge and were calm despite being pegged back to 2-1 with over 30 minutes remaining. Jan Bednarek, Oriol Romeu, Long, Jannik Vestergaard and Jack Stephens were all impressive as they made sure Hasenhuttl will have a selection dilemma in the weeks to come.

They were without regulars Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Charlie Austin (both suspended), Danny Ings, Michael Obafemi, Mario Lemina, Ryan Bertrand (all injured) and Maya Yoshida (on international duty at the Asian Cup) and had eight players from their famed academy in their 18-man squad. Callum Slattery made his Premier League debut as a sub, while Sam Gallagher played his first minutes of the PL season late on as Hasenhuttl’s squad was stretched to the limit.

No matter who was out there Saints’ players showed they are fighting for their new manager, and Hasenhuttl has now won three of his first seven PL games as Southampton manager. That equals as many victories as Mark Hughes, the man he replaced, managed in 22 matches as Saints boss.

Hasenhuttl has momentum and Southampton now have a favorable run of games with Everton, Crystal Palace and Cardiff City at home, plus a trip to Burnley. The next few weeks are pivotal for their chances of not only staying in the Premier League but pushing themselves into midtable.

Heroic Southampton win at Leicester (video)

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  • Ward-Prowse, Long score for Saints
  • Valery sent off in first half 
  • Southampton out of relegation zone
  • 3 defeats in last 4 for Leicester

10-man Southampton beat Leicester City 2-1 at the King Power Stadium on Saturday, as Ralph Hasenhuttl‘s men dragged themselves out of the relegation zone with a wonderful defensive display.

James Ward-Prowse and Shane Long put Saints 2-0 up in the first half but they also had teenage right back Yan Valery sent off for two yellow cards. With a host of injuries, suspensions and players away on international duty, Saints dug deep with eight academy graduates in their matchday squad.

In the second half Leicester pulled one back as Wilfred Ndidi made it 2-1, but despite having all of the possession and efforts they couldn’t break down a stubborn Southampton side.

With the win Saints move up to 16th place on 19 points, while Leicester slip to eight on 31 points.

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Southampton took the lead early on thanks to a moment of madness by Nampalys Mendy. The Leicester midfielder caught Shane Long in the box and gave away a blatant penalty kick.

Ward-Prowse stepped up to score the penalty as Kasper Schmeichel got close to it but couldn’t keep it out.

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An unmarked Jack Stephens then forced Schmeichel into a stop as he powered in a header from a corner which the Leicester goalkeeper pushed away. Harry Maguire nodded wide from Ben Chilwell‘s cross as Leicester battled their way back into the game before half time.

After a flashpoint between Jan Valery and Chilwell saw them both booked, Jan Bednarek somehow cleared Wes Morgan‘s effort off the line as Saints held firm. At the other end Valery should have finished off Matt Targett‘s cross at the back post under pressure and moments later he was the villain.

Valery brought down Marc Albrighton and was given a second yellow card as Saints were reduced to 10 men right on half time, but then they went 2-0 up. Long beat Mendy to a long ball and his shot had too much out on it Schmeichel to keep out.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ] 

At half time Leicester brought on Demarai Gray and Harvey Barnes to try and get back into the game, as Leicester had plenty of the ball but Saints were a threat on the break with the pace of Nathan Redmond and Long.

The Foxes pumped long balls into the box and soon pulled a goal back as Ndidi bundled the ball home from Ricardo Pereira‘s cross. Game on.

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Jamie Vardy and Barnes went down in the box without any contact to leave Southampton’s defenders furious, while Vardy headed off target when under pressure.

Late on Leicester threw everything at Southampton as Maddison curled a long-range effort just wide, but Saints held on for a huge victory after a valiant defensive effort.

Gunn helps Saints to point at Chelsea

AP Photo/Frank Augstein
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  • Blues have 72 percent possession
  • Gunn makes several big saves
  • Morata goal ruled offside

Angus Gunn‘s first Premier League start saw a clean sheet and a big point for Southampton, who drew Chelsea 0-0 at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.

Gunn was aided by the linesman’s flag, as Alvaro Morata did appear to have a goal in the second half only to be ruled offside.

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Saints sat in to stymy Chelsea, and Eden Hazard nearly defied it in the 34th minute. Southampton keeper Angus Gunn was able to block the close-range shot.

Young Southampton defender Yan Valery was able to flick an Alvaro Morata shot out for a corner in the 40th.

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[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Kepa Arrizabalaga moved well to stop Stuart Armstrong‘s attempted opener early in the second half.

Gunn then stopped Hazard again when the Belgian cut in to shoot in the 59th.

Morata was controversially ruled offside and saw a goal taken off the board by the linesman’s flag.

Gunn made another stop on Morata when Cesc Fabregas and Ruben Loftus-Cheek combined to set up the Spaniard.

Saints got a big tackle from Maya Yoshida when N'Golo Kante moved into the box late in the match.

Watch Live: Southampton vs. Manchester United

(AP Photo/Tim Ireland)
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Nemanja Matic gets a rare start at center back when Manchester United visits Southampton on Saturday at St. Mary’s (Watch live at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via NBCSports.com).

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

Scott McTominay also will feature for United, who played at midweek in the Champions League.

Saints start Michael Obafemi up top and also use 19-year-old Yan Valery.

LINEUPS

Southampton: McCarthy, Cedric, Yoshida, Vestergaard, Stephens, Armstrong, Lemina, Redmond, Hojbjerg, Valery, Obafemi. Subs: Gunn, Hoedt, Davis, Austin, Romeu, Ward-Prowse, Gabbiadini.

Manchester United: De Gea, Young, Jones, Matic, Shaw, McTominay, Fellaini, Herrera, Pogba, Rashford, Lukaku. Subs: Romero, Dalot, Rojo, Fred, Lingard, Mata, Martial.