Southampton boss Claude Puel admitted that his players made hard work of their 1-0 win over Swansea City, but also praised their spirit as they secured a first league victory of the season.
Shane Long, Nathan Redmond, Virgil van Dijk and Oriol Romeu were among those to waste excellent chances at St Mary’s before substitute Charlie Austin scored what proved to be the winner after 64 minutes.
And Puel felt that his side should have enjoyed a more comfortable ride against a Swansea side that remains winless since the opening day of the season.
“It was a difficult game because we had many chances and didn’t take them, but it was a very important game for us to win,” he told Sky Sports.
“I think we could have won four or five nil, but when you stay just one nil up, it always makes it difficult to finish the game.
“But it’s a very good win and the spirit from my players was also very good.
“My players kept their good attitude and found their way to victory.”
Puel resisted the temptation to start Austin despite the fact that he scored twice in the midweek Europa League win against Sparta Prague and was understandably pleased with the impact the former QPR man made off the bench.
“Charlie did well,” he said.
“He had another very good chance just before he scored his goal when he hit the bar.
“We play every three days, so it’s very hard and it’s important that we can bring players on and keep the intensity and spirit the same and that happened today.”
Shane Long, meanwhile, was the man to make way for Austin and Puel felt that the Irishman should have been awarded a penalty rather than a yellow card for simulation during the first half.
“Normally it would be a penalty,” he claimed, “But in England you cannot intervene with the referee after the game.
“But it is more important for us to focus on the win.”
Next on the agenda for the Saints is a midweek EFL Cup clash with Crystal Palace, followed by a Premier League visit to West Ham on Sunday.
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