Southampton made it two wins on the bounce in the Premier League on Wednesday night as they beat Norwich City 2-1.
Saints headed into this game with a weight lifted from their shoulders after ending their winless run of home matches against Watford on Saturday evening.
Norwich, though, were full of confidence after a victory at Everton and a home draw with Arsenal.
Southampton took the game to the Canaries in the first half and ultimately found themselves 2-0 up at the break after exploiting their opponents’ weaknesses from set-pieces.
Danny Ings headed home James Ward-Prowse’s free-kick from the left-hand side before Ryan Bertrand converted a flick-on from Shane Long, courtesy of another good delivery from Ward-Prowse.
Norwich found a route back into the game as Teemu Pukki lashed home from close range, but Saints held on for a vital three points, with Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side now out of the relegation zone.
Here are four findings from the crucial win.
Redemption for Hojbjerg
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg had his best game of the season against Norwich. He was strong in the tackle, composed on the ball and ran himself into the ground. It was finally a captain’s performance.
Ralph gets it right
Hasenhuttl’s team selection raised a few eyebrows, but the balance of the line-up worked to perfection. His substitutions were arguably conservative, but his approach sufficiently nullified Norwich’s attack and kept Saints’ forward players in the game.
Ward-Prowse shows his value
Ward-Prowse’s performance levels have been pretty low this season, but he is directly influencing the outcome of matches. His delivery from set-pieces was excellent against Norwich, and he created both goals. He has stepped up in recent times.
Ings and Long work well
Ings and Long started up front for Saints, and the pair worked well together. There was a good blend of aggressive pressing, intelligent positioning and coordinated movement in the final third. This partnership should be maintained for the trip to Newcastle United.