The 3-3 draw with Bournemouth secured Saints’ Premier League status on Saturday and Matt Targett was quick to hail the impact of Ralph Hasenhüttl on the team’s radical turn of fortunes in the second half of the campaign.
For Targett, whose back-post diving header was his first for the club, the drama and excitement at St Mary’s – although not producing the desired result in the end – was a summary of the energy the Austrian has brought into the club since his appointment in December.
“The impact he’s had and the games that we’ve won, I don’t think we’d be in this position if it wasn’t for him. The way that we’re playing now, scoring goals – we need to sharpen up at the back for sure – but it’s been a great turnaround.
“It’s been a special end to the season and the fans have stuck with us,” he said. “Since the manager came in, he’s brought the fans and players closer together every week and they’ve been fantastic, they really got us over the line.
“We’ve got two games left to focus on and we want to finish on a high and then have a nice summer to relax before starting it all again. The way the club is now, we’ve got to set high targets and I think we can get back in the top 10 next season."