After watching his side draw 1-1 with Chelsea at St Mary’s, Ronald Koeman praised the organisation and spirit of his players.
Saints ended 2014 with a point against the Premier League leaders after Sadio Mané’s goal was cancelled out by Eden Hazard just before half-time.
Chelsea piled the pressure on in the second half, and Morgan Schneiderlin was also sent off late on, but Koeman’s side saw the game out well, with a little bit of luck that was maybe missing in recent weeks, to earn a point.
Koeman, speaking to the club’s official YouTube channel, said: “I think we had a great performance. It’s not easy to play against that kind of good football team.
“They are very strong in all aspects in football. [Their goal] was a pity because it’s always different 1-0 up in half-time than 1-1. But we kept the organisation in the team and that was the key today.
“That moment was very disappointing, that feeling is totally different. You know when you play Chelsea, if you make small mistakes, they can make goals but we had very good organisation.
“We had unbelievable spirit and sometimes a little bit of luck, but you need this to have these kinds of results. Without luck it’s impossible to have a good result against a strong team like Chelsea.
“We learned from the mistakes we did the last few games against the big teams. We had more confidence, more organisation until the last second, even with ten against 11.”
Mané’s goal made it two in as many games for the Senegal international, and Koeman was once again pleased with his performance.
He added: “He’s very good at the moment, he’s playing in a different position but he’s very fast and scored a wonderful goal. We know that we will lose him to the Africa Cup of Nations, but we have more players.”
The point means Saints will had into 2015 in fourth place in the Barclays Premier League table; something Koeman is delighted with. “I’m very proud of the team until now,” he added. “We’re in a good position in the league, we played good football.
“We had a little bit of a dip, a few defeats in a row, but the spirit is back, the confidence is back and that’s great to see. With this result, we can be very happy.”