SOUTHAMPTON, United Kingdom- Mauricio Pellegrino found himself saluting his team in The Hawthorns mixed zone for the second time in two weeks on Saturday afternoon.
Goals from Wesley Hoedt and Dušan Tadić had seen them progress into the quarter-finals of the FA Cup at the expense of West Brom and the Saints boss was full of praise at the full-time whistle.
Particularly pleasing for Pellegrino was the way his charges stood firm against an aerial bombardment from hosts West Brom who threw everything forward in vain in the closing stages in search of an equaliser.
“We feel happy for many reasons,” he said. “As a team, the spirit that we showed today was really good from the beginning until the end.
“West Brom were looking to play long, put us under pressure and make the match into a physical battle but we competed very well especially at set-pieces, even scoring one ourselves.
“You have to be focused from the beginning and that was one of many small details that made the difference here.
“Until the end we tried to make them think about our attacking threats – like Manolo and Josh from the bench – instead of us worrying about theirs and a possible equaliser; it nearly paid off because we were unfortunate not to score a third late on.”
Saints will be hopeful that the continuation of this cup run can influence their Premier League form; an improved performance here was the most positive sign of all for the boss as well as the return of Nathan Redmond to the first-team picture.
“We have moved to the next round which is important but the most pleasing thing for me is the belief in our work and the knowledge that we can compete well in difficult situations.
“The best thing as always is to look to improve as a team and make sure we take that out onto the pitch. Good results will be the consequences of that.
“Nathan is looking to rediscover his best level. It will take time for us to get him there again together. It is never easy coming back into the team after a spell out of it but I was impressed with him today, he had some good moments.”
-Material used to compile this report sourced from official Southampton FC website, read more here