Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl described one element of his side’s game as the “best in the league” thanks chiefly to one specific man.
Southampton made it back-to-back 3-1 wins with a comfortable victory over Fulham at St. Mary’s. Despite Fulham’s superior possession, the Saints always appeared the more threatening side. Che Adams opened the scoring before young forward Nathan Tella cemented his arrival to the first-team with his maiden goal at senior level.
The 21-year-old followed that up with an assists for Theo Walcott as Southampton cruised to victory over the already-relegated Cottagers.
Speaking to Sky Sports after the match, Hasenhuttl said: “We showed a committed performance, pleased with the substitutes because it’s not been our biggest strength this season but all three had a part in the game.
“The game balance was good over the game, we knew we had to be clinical, first-half we had chances, we deserved the win.”
Regarding the impressive display of Tella, the Austrian added: “Since he joined he has been a lively factor in our game, you can be sure he will sprint more in 20 minutes than others do in 90 minutes, always high tempo which is what you need for a sub, vey pleased with his performance.
“I love him he’s always positive. He loves what he’s doing and that’s what you have to.
“He’s really one of the hardest workers. Important to take care of expectations but giving him more game time as a sub when the opponent is a bit tired this is the perfect moment to show up, good for a striker to come on late.”
On goalscorer Che Adams, Hasenhuttl said: “His statistics for the season we have spoken about and he could have much more goals, but he always works hard for the team.
“The more he scores the more he deserves to play because he hasn’t always had it easy but this year he has had a bit of a breakthrough.”
Saints set pieces “best in the league” – Hasenhuttl
Hailing the club’s deadly threat from set pieces, Hasenhuttl picked out dead-ball specialist Ward-Prowse for special praise.
“Pleased with the performance from set-pieces, we are the best in the league from set-pieces, based largely on James and what he does for the team.”
Southampton forward Theo Walcott also spoke to the press, and insisted Tella has a very bright future indeed.
“Nathan Tella works so hard in training,” said the ex-Gunner. “I’m very pleased he got his goal. Everyone is so delighted for him. He’s such a good kid. He’s got a really bright future.
“[His assist] shows his awareness at such a young age.”