Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl praised the reaction of his players as they responded to Saturday’s collapse at home against Wolves by beating Crystal Palace 2-0 at Selhurst Park.
Nathan Redmond and Stuart Armstrong struck fine goals from outside the area to secure the Saints a fifth win in seven Premier League games that moved them into the top half of the table.
That record would have been even better had they not let slip a two-goal lead to lose against Wolves last weekend, but there was to be no repeat in London.
“It is not easy to win here, but the way we played today, especially in possession, was one of the best performances this season,” Hasenhuttl said.
“Going into the second half, with the history of the last game where we lost, we wanted to show we could do it better and be more concentrated and stick to the game plan.”
Southampton more than did that with Armstrong scoring his second of the season three minutes after the break.
The south coast club are one of the Premier League’s form teams, which is even more impressive considering it was only three months ago they lost 9-0 at home to Leicester.
Hasenhuttl added: “A lot has changed and not only the shape. Sure we never play with a back five again. We always had the 4-2-2-2 now.
“This is a shape I was playing for a long time at my last club. It takes time I think because tactically it is demanding in any position to learn it and we haven’t been brave enough at the beginning of the season to do it.
“We had very good opponents against (us) and then we were scared and sat deep with a back five and it wasn’t really the style we wanted to play and we lost track a bit and our philosophy.
“Then we found it back and after the international break we changed our behaviour completely, our work against the ball, our counter-pressing, our defensive work and also our attacking stuff. We play quicker now and this all together is giving us better results.”
It was a frustrating evening for Palace with the exploits of Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Manchester City appearing to catch up with them.
Eagles boss Roy Hodgson admitted: “They did (look tired) but we can’t use that as an excuse because we had the same amount of rest period as the other teams in the league.
“It is more a question that we had this period where the same XI basically have had to fight their way through games and some tough games in the past and it caught up with us.”
VAR was needed at the end of the first half when Palace winger Wilfried Zaha appeared to poke James Ward-Prowse in the eye.
But Hodgson added: “All I heard is VAR looked at this incident and decided their was nothing to do. That is good enough for me.”