A delighted Claude Puel praised his players for showing their competitive spirit, after they thrashed Sunderland 4-0 at the Stadium of Light.
Saints, who had lost six of their previous seven Premier League games, demolished a Black Cats side that had come into this match high on confidence.
A first-half double from Manolo Gabbiadini set the visitors on the way, before a late Jason Denayer own goal and an added-time strike from Shane Long completed the rout.
Puel said: "It was a good performance against a difficult opponent, who were in confidence with their last results.
“I think it was important to win, and with a clean sheet and four goals it's fantastic.
“It was important to find solutions and to give a good answer after the last loss. It was important to have a good reaction, and I am happy for the players, because it was a difficult moment.
“In difficult moments it's always an opportunity to play and to become competitors. It's always an opportunity.
"It was a difficult moment, of course. It was important for the squad, for the club and for our fans to give a good answer. It was important to react.
“It was a good challenge to come back with this attitude to win this game and I hope now we can continue this in the Premier League.”