Claude Puel was pleased with Southampton’s response, as they bounced back from Europa League disappointment to beat Middlesbrough at St Mary’s.
Puel’s side were knocked out of Europe on Thursday night, but responded in the best possible way with three points against Boro thanks to Sofiane Boufal’s brilliant strike.
The Saints boss felt his side gave the right answer, as they moved up to tenth in the Premier League thanks to the win.
“It was important for all of the team, for all of the players and the fans,” Puel said.
“It’s always very, very difficult to come back in another competition after elimination, to win the game straight after a big disappointment.
“This shows the strong character and the very good spirit of my squad. It’s a very good answer.
“I changed some players because for me it was important to keep a good fitness. In the second half we showed a very good game.
“We deserved to win this game.”
Puel was disappointed with Saints’ first-half display, but was pleased with how his players picked up in the second 45 minutes to come away with the win.
“I think the first half was not good, because it was difficult to find space. In the quality it was not sufficient,” Puel added.
“Of course the opponent stays behind with a strong block. In the second half we come back with a good spirit and a good attitude to our play.
“It was a fantastic goal from Sofiane. We created a good spirit for the second half and now it’s important to continue this work.”