Puel: Victory over West Brom gives Southampton perfect platform

Date published: Saturday 8th April 2017 6:59 - Joe Williams

Southampton boss Claude Puel insisted their 1-0 win at West Brom can give the Saints a perfect platform to end the season.

Jordy Clasie’s first Premier League goal earned back-to-back league wins to edge the Saints four points behind the eighth-placed Baggies.

Puel’s side have two games in hand on Albion but they were indebted to Fraser Forster who produced a fine reaction stop to deny Craig Dawson an equaliser in injury time.

And the Frenchman is eager to look ahead to the final seven games following Clasie’s first-half winner.

“We will see in the future but it was important to take this result, to keep a good ambition for the end of the season. I think the spirit and attitude of the players was perfect,” said Puel, with Southampton ninth.

“Now it’s important to keep this regularly and we will see against (Manchester) City for the next game.

“Of course it’s a great challenge but it’s important to keep this confidence for this game.

“It was important because we lost our first game against this team at home so it was important to take a little revenge but that was not the most important thing.”

The Saints were comfortable for long spells but needed Forster to secure the points when he clawed away Dawson’s six-yard volley before saving from Jonny Evans a minute later.

Puel added: “It was fantastic for Fraser to finish the game with a clean sheet. I think we made a fantastic first half with quality in many situations and many opportunities but without the second goal.

“I am happy for the team because it showed quality in the first half and character in the second half with Fraser.”

It was a forgettable game where the Baggies lacked the necessary quality of break the Saints down as Salomon Rondon, who has not scored since December, was also thwarted by Forster in the first half.

Defeat was Albion’s second on the spin after Tuesday’s 2-0 defeat at Watford as they strive to reach 50 points for the first time in the Premier League.

Boss Tony Pulis said: “We’ve got to hit the target and be more clinical in front of goal.

“Southampton are a good side but in the last 20 to 25 minutes we really took over the game. That’s when you need that little bit of composure to put the ball in the back of the net.

“There are lots of areas I’m going to look at in the summer, there’s no way in a million years that I’m going to criticise this group of players.”

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