Southampton goalkeeper Angus Gunn hailed team-mate Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg following his sides hard-fought 1-0 victory over Brighton, describing him as a “a great player to have”.

The Dane’s fourth goal of the season proved the difference at the Amex Stadium, where Southampton upset the hosts and took another big step towards Premier League survival.

Gunn, who has been enjoying a successful spell in the first-team, praised Hojbjerg’s leadership and attitude in the side, saying:

He’s a great leader. If I didn’t know how old he was I wouldn’t say he’s 23. He’s definitely one of the older heads in the dressing room. He’s a great player to have in our team.

Hojbjerg has been a pivotal part of the Saints squad so far this season, earning recognition from the Denmark national side for his efforts. He featured in both of their latest international appearances, scoring a late equaliser against Kosovo in last Thursday’s friendly encounter.

The goal was somewhat similar to one that sealed victory on Saturday which impressed Gunn, who feels it epitomises the way Saints are told to play. He continued:

He [Hojbjerg] said when he came in he scored an identical goal on international duty for Denmark so I think he had the confidence from that. It was a great move and it really showed the way we play, the way we press, winning the ball high and counter-attacking.

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The win saw Saints go five points clear of the relegation zone, equalling Brighton’s current points tally but remaining a place behind them on goal difference.

Next up for Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men is a home tie against Liverpool on Friday, a game Gunn feels optimistic about. He said:

We’ve got another big game against Liverpool on Friday and if we can get another surprise there then hopefully people will start forgetting about us for the relegation fight.

Hopefully we can push on and not linger around the bottom for the last few games. I think we’ve definitely got potential to do that.

Hasenhuttl has enjoyed a positive start to his Southampton reign, earning 24 points from his first 16 games. He will be hoping his side can maintain their form having won their last two league games, as they draw ever close to securing top-flight safety.

Will Southampton avoid relegation?