Long hails "special effort"

By SFC Media Sat 12 Jan Leicester v Saints
Photo by Matt Watson | Shane Long

Shane Long paid tribute to the character of the Southampton squad to dig deep and pick up three vital points at Leicester, despite playing more than half of the match with ten men.

Saints took an early lead through James Ward-Prowse’s penalty after Long was brought down by Nampalys Mendy, but found themselves reduced to ten men when Yan Valery was sent off for a second bookable offence shortly before half time.

But there was still time for Long to make life uncomfortable for Mendy again before the interval, robbing the midfielder of possession and going through to score his first goal of the season, leaving ten-man Saints with a two-goal cushion to protect.

Wilfred Ndidi did pull one back for the hosts before the hour, but Saints showed their spirit to see the job through.

“It’s a tough place to come, and when you go down to ten men it’s going to take a special effort to come away with three points,” Long said.

“The manager sets us up well to press teams, and you could see in the first 35 minutes when we had the triggers we went – everyone went together and we caused them a lot of problems.

“They found it hard to play against us and ended up kicking the long balls, and we dealt with that quite well.

“Once we went down to ten men, the game plan has to change a bit. I had to drop in deep and allow them to have possession at the back.

“It was nice we had the 1-0 lead, but we got the second goal and came in at half time with a bit of a cushion.

“The talk at half time was all about digging in deep and working hard, and I think everybody out there gave their heart and soul in that performance.

“You could see how much the three points meant to us. It was one of those games when you’ve just got to dig deep, but luckily we’ve got the characters in the dressing room who can do that.”

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