Shane Long was delighted to see strike partner Graziano Pellè make a return to goalscoring form at Stoke City on Saturday.
Long partnered the Italian in attack for Ronald Koeman’s side at the Britannia Stadium, where a double from Pellè sealed a 2-1 win for Saints.
With Pellè not having scored since the win against AFC Bournemouth in November, Long was happy to see the 30 year-old back amongst the goals.
“I’m pleased for Grazi. I’ve been in that position before when you’re doing everything right, but the ball just doesn’t go in the net for you,” Long told reporters after Saturday’s win.
“It was nice for him to get those two goals and after he got the second I was telling him ‘come on, get your hat-trick’.
“He deserves it – he’s a great player. He’s one of our real threats going forward and it’s nice to have your strikers scoring goals.
“When you get that confidence everything seems to happen for you. He’s a big strong lad as well.
“It’s nice to have that confidence back in him because he knows deep down how good a player he is. He just needed to get one to kick on and hopefully finish the season strongly.”
Saints boss Koeman opted to partner Long and Pellè in attack at Stoke, with the former in impressive form himself since the turn of the year, and the Irishman felt the partnership worked well.
“I’m enjoying it – I got my chance up front because last season and the start of this season I was playing wider,” Long added.
“Grazi got an injury and the gaffer gave me a shot up front. I feel more confident there.
“I thought Grazi and I had a good partnership at Stoke and caused them a few problems.”