Southampton defender Ryan Bertrand was thrilled to secure all three points in Saturday’s clash with Sunderland – believing that the visitors’ quality finally told.
Dusan Tadic’s second-half penalty proved enough for a Saints side who had 67 per cent possession.
“We knew it was going to be a tough place to come to so it was important we dug in,” 26-year-old Bertrand said.
“We had to compete and then hopefully our quality would come through, which it did.
“It was a very tight game, but we were trying to create chances. Maybe our final pass let us down at times.
“But it was important we kept going and we managed to break them down in the end.”
Victory made it eight matches without defeat for Saints, and former Chelsea man Bertrand added: “There is (a lot of belief), especially with the results of late.
“It’s important we keep that consistency and keep that work ethic that we showed. Hopefully then the results will keep coming.”
Saints clinched a post-war record of six away games unbeaten at the start of a season, and keeper Maarten Stekelenburg said: “We knew beforehand it was going to be a difficult game – you just know after their 6-2 loss at Everton there was going to be a reaction.
“I think we played a good first half. First half, we didn’t create a lot of chances, but I think in the end we deserved to win.”
Stekelenburg produced a fine stop to deny Fabio Borini, shortly after Tadic’s spot-kick winner. The Dutchman added: “It’s always nice for a goalkeeper, of course, but that’s also why I’m there,” he said. “But it was nice to make the save.”
Stekelenburg, 33, was pleased with a second successive clean sheet, too, saying: “It’s for the whole team. We don’t give away a lot of chances.
“If you see last week against Bournemouth it wasn’t a good second half, but in the end they didn’t create a lot.
“We don’t give a lot of chances away, so that’s a good thing.”