Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl pinpointed the impact of Edinson Cavani as a real difference maker in his side’s 3-2 defeat to Man Utd.
The Saints took a two-goal lead through Jan Bednarek and James Ward-Prowse.
Both goals came from set pieces, with Ward-Prowse once again underlining his credentials as one of the game’s deadliest operators from set plays.
Bruno Fernandes and super sub Edinson Cavani inspired a dramatic comeback, however, with the Uruguayan striker snatching an injury-time winner.
Speaking to the BBC following the match, Hasenhuttl said: “They played [Edinson] Cavani and he is very hard to defend against. We couldn’t keep the pressure high on them. We tried everything and made a fantastic game.
“We had some fantastic moments – the best I think we can against such sides. I am very happy about what we can play today.
“The second half, sure, was difficult but we must see the quality and in the end, how difficult it is to defend against the other team. I think the game was good to watch.
“He [Cavani] made the difference in the second half. He is good in the box and we know this. We had not enough relief from playing out and keeping the ball. We did it for a very long time very good.
“For 2-2, that is okay for us, but then we conceded a third goal. We played as good as we can today. We put everything in that is possible against such teams but we saw a fantastic side.”
On the ever-impressive James Ward-Prowse, Hasenhuttl added: “Not only his free-kicks but his work for the team is always good. In the end it was not enough to take something.
“This is a little bit frustrating but when you look deeper you see how many things we did today so we are not disappointed.”
We gave Man Utd encouragement – Bednarek
The scorer of Southampton’s first goal – Jan Bednarek – told Sky Sports: “I think the first half was perfect for us. We did what we wanted but the second half was a little bit too sloppy. We let them feel like they could get something and in the end we didn’t defend good enough. The opposition was very strong in front.
“As you can see, you have to be alive all the time as he just needs a few metres of space to score a goal. We need to analyse that. We are in the right place, right moment but we have to be humble to work hard and not lose a game like this. It wasn’t good enough today.
“We have to analyse all the games. It doesn’t matter if we lose or win. We will see what is wrong and next week we will do it better and become stronger.
“We are just working hard. Everything is clear for us. We are all sticking together. We are strong mentally.”