Ronald Koeman lauded Sadio Mane after the winger scored the fastest hat-trick in the history of the Premier League in Saturday’s 6-1 win over Aston Villa.
The Senegalese netted his treble in just two minutes and 56 seconds as Southampton raced into a 5-0 lead in the first half, boosting their UEFA Europa League hopes with a dominant victory at St Mary’s Stadium.
Shane Long netted twice and Graziano Pelle completed the rout, but it was Mane who attracted the warm praise of manager Koeman.
“It was incredible from Sadio Mane,” the Dutchman told BT Sport. “A player like him, to get that kind of space, he will punish you. The whole team did a good job and I am proud.
“I didn’t expect that first half. We played fantastic football and had good movement and players running in to space.
“It was strange to see the opponents playing one line and we punished them for the space they gave.
“The goals were great and it is hard to keep concentration in the second half, but the victory was well deserved.”
Mane’s haul took him to 10 Premier League goals for the season, but he confessed to not knowing that he had broken Robbie Fowler’s long-standing Premier League record, with the former Liverpool man having scored three times in a relatively pedestrian four minutes and 33 seconds back in 1994.
Mane said: “Really? It is the fastest Premier League hat-trick? The most important thing is the victory.
“We have a chance to finish in the Europa League spots. We will try to win the next game against Manchester City and why not win it?”