Ralph Hasenhuttl saluted Southampton’s success in surviving a spell of Huddersfield Town pressure on the way to a second straight Premier League victory.
The Saints impressively built on last weekend’s win over Arsenal by prevailing 3-1 at John Smith’s Stadium on Saturday and pulling three points clear of the drop zone.
First-half goals from Nathan Redmond and Danny Ings ensured the result was largely comfortable, although Huddersfield did threaten a comeback after Philip Billing cut the deficit in the 58th minute.
The visitors negotiated the test with maturity and earned their reward when teenage striker Michael Obafemi netted his maiden senior goal off the bench.
“It was a very intense game, a big win for us and a very important one,” Hasenhuttl told Sky Sports.
“If you see the table you see it was very necessary to [win]. We were in such a bad position and now it looks a little friendlier. I think it was important.
“We knew the opponent would never give up. It was important to see [us withstand pressure.] I think it was the next step in our development.
“Now we have two games at home against West Ham and Manchester City. It will be great for our fans over Christmas.”
Last Christmas, I gave you my heart but the very next day you gave it away! This year, to save me from tears, I’ll give it to Hasenhüttl
— Southampton FC (@SouthamptonFC) December 22, 2018
Southampton appear a rejuvenated prospect under new boss Hasenhuttl, having collected back-to-back Premier League victories for the first time since April 2017.
Huddersfield, in contrast, have lost five on the trot and languish four points from safety, with manager David Wagner diagnosing a lack of confidence as inhibiting their bid to avoid a relegation scrap.
“We were not calm enough on the ball and we were not brave enough as well in a lot of situations,” Wagner said.
“We passed backwards where we had the opportunity to pass forward. The second half was better [but] we have to accept this result and take it on the chin.”
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