Southampton relieved boss Ralph Hasenhuttl with their first win in six games against south coast rivals Bournemouth, who lost for the first time under caretaker manager Gary O’Neil.
It’s hard to remember a time when Hasenhuttl, who has been in charge of the Saints since December 2018, wasn’t under pressure, but his side seem to get results when they need them and this was another example.
Che Adams’ first-half header from a left-back Romain Perraud cross was the first away goal in four games and ultimately proved enough as the Saints won for the first time since August 30.
Perhaps more importantly, and certainly more encouraging for the rest of the season, is that they kept a clean sheet for the first time in 17 games since April 16 of last season.
They put pressure on Bournemouth after the goal but the hosts, unbeaten in six games under O’Neil’s guidance, failed to really test Republican international Gavin Bazunu in the Saints goal.
Hasenhuttl told BBC Match of the Day: “I’m a proud man. I’m proud of the lads for the effort they put in and this time we were absolutely ready for that win and goal.
“I think we deserved it today because we did a very good job.
“Everything we tried worked, from the setup to the game plan to the subs. Everything was perfect.”
The result lifts Southampton to 14th, two points clear of the relegation zone, while Bournemouth sit 11th.
Caleta-Car convinces, but in the last third both sides lack quality
Hasenhuttl has spent most of the season among bookmakers’ favorites to be sacked – he sat in second behind Aston Villa boss Steven Gerrard before kick-off – but on that evidence his players are still playing for him.
They were well organized at the back, with Croatia international Duje Caleta-Car impressing in his second start since joining from Marseille this summer.
Hasenhuttl spoke about how Caleta-Car’s lead is essential in his pre-match interview and it showed with the 26-year-old showing composure throughout and making a crucial block to put Philip Billing in the to refuse in the second half.
Up front, the Saints had energy with Adams and Adam Armstrong, but they often lacked quality, with Joe Aribo’s top effort, saved by Neto’s outstretched feet, coming closest to scoring the second.
That chance was set up by impressive right-back Kyle Walker-Peters, but he was substituted off in the second half with an injury that will dampen three vital points.
“In the end it’s a win for the whole group,” added Hasenhüttl.
“We know we have to fight together as a group after an intense summer transfer window and there are some phases you go through as a club and as a team.
“We talk very often about the patience we have to have for them.
“It’s not always the case that you have patience in this business, especially when you work in a club for a little bit like me.”
O’Neil has done a remarkable job for Bournemouth since taking the reins from Scott Parker, winning two games and drawing four, and you could see the confidence in his side as they attempted to repeat their best unbeaten run in the top continue league.
But they too lacked quality in the last third, only Billings drive from 22 yards was the only time they really called Bazunu into action.
They almost got their reward for their added-time pressure when Bazunu dropped a corner and Lewis Cook turned on goal, but Mohammed Salisu was there to chop from the line for Southampton.
This game will be a points target from Bournemouth, particularly with tough games against West Ham and Tottenham next on the agenda, but four points off the bottom three at this point is a decent start for their return to the top flight.
- 13Murara Neto
- fifteento Smith
- 6MephamBooked at 43 minutes
- 25senesiReplaced byRotwelldid 77′protocol
- 4L cook
- 2FriedrichsReplaced byDembeledid 83′protocol
- 10ChristieReplaced byStanislasdid 62′protocol
- 29invoiceReplaced byMooredid 83′protocol
- 2Walker PetersReplaced byS Armstrongdid 66′protocol90 minutes booked
- 6Caleta car
- fifteenPerraud15 minutes bookedReplaced byLarios Lopezdid 88′protocol
- 3Maitland NileBooked at 43 minutesReplaced bydialodid 88′protocol
- 8thProwse District
- 7AriboReplaced bylyancodid 64′protocol
- 9To ArmstrongReplaced byDjenepodid 88′protocol
- 17S Armstrong
- 28Larios Lopez
- John Brooks
Game ends, Bournemouth 0, Southampton 1.
End of the second half, Bournemouth 0, Southampton 1.
Stuart Armstrong (Southampton) is shown a yellow card.
attempt saved. Moussa Djenepo (Southampton) left footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the center of the goal.
Foul by Adam Smith (Bournemouth).
Stuart Armstrong (Southampton) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Corner, Bournemouth. Goal by Gavin Bazunu.
attempt saved. Marcus Tavernier (Bournemouth) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the top center of the goal. Assisted by Junior Stanislas.
attempt blocked. Lyanco (Southampton) header from the center of the box is blocked. Assisted by James Ward Prowse with a cross.
Corner of Southampton. Cashed in by Adam Smith.
Substitute, Southampton. Ibrahima Diallo replaces Ainsley Maitland-Niles.
Substitute, Southampton. Moussa Djenepo replaces Adam Armstrong.
Substitute, Southampton. Juan Larios replaces Romain Perraud.
Foul by Joe Rothwell (Bournemouth).
Adam Armstrong (Southampton) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Substitute, Bournemouth. Siriki Dembele replaces Ryan Fredericks.
Substitute, Bournemouth. Kieffer Moore replaces Philip Billing.
attempt failed. Mohamed Elyounoussi (Southampton) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the right is high and wide on the right.
attempt blocked. Che Adams (Southampton) right footed shot from the center of the box is blocked. Assisted by Romain Perraud.
attempt saved. Marcus Tavernier (Bournemouth) header from the center of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Junior Stanislas.
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