Jan 11 (Reuters) - Southampton gave all their travelling fans at Leicester City on Saturday vouchers for a free drink to thank them for their support - but nothing will have matched the sweet taste of success on the pitch.
The Saints went into the encounter at the King Power Stadium having endured a humiliating 9-0 loss in the reverse fixture in October. But they took their revenge when striker Danny Ings sealed all three points with a late winner.
The comeback win meant Southampton have won four of their last five league games to sit eight points above the relegation zone, a huge turnaround from a few months ago when Hasenhuettl was facing questions about his future at the club.
“We never spoke about revenge during the week. It was more about giving ourselves an answer for what happened that night. We gave the right answer today,” Hasenhuettl told reporters.
“If you concede the first goal against a team who has scored nine against you, you have to be mentally strong to respond. I had the feeling that we are in the moment. We prepared well for this game and in the end we had more power.
“It’s hard to put it into words. To come back after one down against such a strong side. We deserved to turn it because we had so many chances. It was a fantastic team performance.”
A big part of Southampton’s resurgence this season is down to Hasenhuettl’s decision to switch to a back four, abandoning the 3-5-2 and 3-4-3 formations that let them down earlier in the campaign.
Playing two strikers at the other end has also paid off, with Ings - who scored his 16th goal in all competitions - making it 10 goals from 10 league starts despite missing a number of opportunities in the first half.
“You can see we’ve got smiles on our faces and even in the last few minutes when we’re working hard and winning tackles,” Ings said.
“We’re getting back to enjoying football and that’s what we do... How we’ve been over Christmas and since then has been massive for us as a club and long may it continue.”
Southampton, whose staff handed out drinks vouchers inside the away turnstiles to fans on Saturday, will host Wolverhampton Wanderers next weekend, while Leicester are due to visit Burnley. (Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Hugh Lawson)
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