Southampton moved up to 16th place on the Premier League table with a 2-1 victory over Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday afternoon.
The Saints headed into the fixture as clear underdogs but turned in an inspired second-half display to put their opponents to the sword at St Mary’s Stadium.
Ralph Hasenhuttl named an unchanged team from the starting line-up he fielded in Southampton’s cruel 3-2 defeat away at Manchester United last weekend, and they performed valiantly once again.
Harry Kane opened the scoring for Spurs as he drifted away from Jannik Vestergaard to fire low and beyond Angus Gunn.
Southampton were far more aggressive after the interval, however, and played with fluency. They began creating more and more chances, and their patience paid off.
Yan Valery scored his second goal in as many games after Tottenham failed to deal with a low ball across the face of goal.
The Saints then went ahead soon after, as James Ward-Prowse curled a sumptuous free-kick beyond the reach of a helpless Hugo Lloris in the Spurs net, sealing a 2-1 win for the hosts.
Here are four findings from what was an incredibly satisfying victory for Southampton.
The return of Sims boosts Saints
Josh Sims made his first appearance of the season for Saints, and it left plenty scratching their heads as to just why he hasn’t featured more.
The youngster had an unsuccessful loan spell at Reading but was quite superb in his cameo against Tottenham.
Sims played on the half-turn, found space between the lines well and was intelligent with his pressing. He helped to turn the tide of the game.
Gunn makes the starting spot his own
Angus Gunn appears to have cemented his place as Ralph Hasenhuttl’s first choice goalkeeper, and it’s not hard to see why.
He was impressive against Tottenham after shining against Manchester United last weekend and played his part as Saints won the three points this time around.
Gunn made a sensational stop with his fingertips to deny Harry Kane after he cut inside in the second half, and has instilled confidence into the back five since his return to the starting line-up.
Hasenhuttl's game management prevails
Southampton were passive in the first half but came out firing on all cylinders after the break. This owes to the tactical nous and motivational skills that Ralph Hasenhuttl boasts.
He introduced Josh Sims and Shane Long, sacrificing a midfielder in Oriol Romeu and substituting the ineffective Charlie Austin. By favouring pace on the break and a more direct approach, Saints put Spurs under the cosh.
Hasenhuttl’s discussions with the team clearly inspired them to a dramatic turnaround. It has been some time since Southampton have had a proactive manager, instead of a principally reactive one.
Ward-Prowse deserves an England call-up
James Ward-Prowse is in phenomenal form. He is the highest-scoring English midfielder in the Premier League this season and has scored the most free-kicks in the division.
But it is not just about the 24-year-old’s ability from set-pieces. He was excellent, irrespective of his fantastic goal, against Tottenham, and was Southampton’s best player.
He has displayed the necessary tenacity to suit Hasenhuttl’s style, the intelligence to play penetrative passes, and the technique to execute fantastic deliveries and efforts on goal.
Ward-Prowse is one of the most in-form players in the Premier League. Gareth Southgate must reward his efforts with a recall to the England squad this month.