Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Puel hails ´spirited´ Saints after battling win

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 8 Apr 2017

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Southampton boss Claude Puel hailed his side’s character after they held firm under sustained second-half pressure from West Brom to earn a 1-0 win at The Hawthorns.

Jordy Clasie rifled home his first Premier League goal from 20 yards out to give the visitors the lead after 25 minutes, but they were grateful to Fraser Forster, whose fine reflex save prevented Jonny Evans from snatching a stoppage-time equaliser for the hosts.

The result extended Southampton’s impressive run of recent form to just one defeat in five games and left Puel understandably delighted.

“We defended well and there was also some good play from us in the first half,” he told Sky Sports.

“I thought we were fantastic in the first half, but only got the one goal. In the second half, it was long balls and direct play from West Brom and it was difficult to defend against but we resisted very well and the clean sheet was a good reward for us.

“It was a good game for Jordy and for Pierre [Emile Hojbjerg] as well. They stayed serious and played with conviction and quality and the attitude of the whole squad was fantastic. We saw that with the way we played with quality and intensity in the first half and then showed great spirit in the second.”

Southampton remain ninth ahead of next weekend’s home clash with Manchester City, a game Puel is looking forward to.

“It will be a very difficult but very interesting challenge for us as a young team,” he said.

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