Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl was delighted after his side welcomed back supporters to St. Mary’s with an impressive 3-0 win over Sheffield United.
Che Adams’ fourth goal of the season gave the Saints the lead at the break, before Stuart Armstrong’s deflected effort and Nathan Redmond confirmed back-to-back wins in the second half.
Supported by 2,000 fans inside St. Marys, the boss was pleased that his side were able to mark their return in style.
“It was the perfect Sunday for them, and for us,” said Hasenhuttl after the game.
“It’s so nice to win in front of them, and so beautiful to see how they are celebrating and how much they enjoy us playing good football.
“Every good action - and we had a lot today - they were immediately applauding it and showed us that they want to go with us now.
“It is so nice to have them back and so nice to see that we play the same, or even better, with them. I think the best message today is that we are becoming a stronger side every week.
“They have watched us playing in the past and you can see that they know now what we want to do and how we want to play.
“This was really interesting how they are not scared of us building up from behind, they are not scared of us playing out under pressure and this is risky, but it’s okay.
“They know we can do it now and this, I think, is amazing.”
And goalscorer Armstrong also lauded the impact of the returning fans inside the stadium.
The Scot recanted how Saints’ recent success had been centred around their pressing game, but how the team are also now growing in confidence with the ball - as evidenced by their trio of well-worked goals.
Style of play
“We work on pressing a lot but we’ve also slowly been introducing the possession side to our game,” Armstrong commented.
“Today was a perfect example of that - a high press but also a calmness and composure with the ball. We created a lot of chances despite them sitting back.
“It’s been a while without fans and we’ve had some really bright performances so it’s been a shame they’ve not been here to see them.
“Today was, first and foremost, about getting a good result but to top that off with a performance like that was a nice thing for the fans to see and great for the whole team.
“Our fans were probably subject to a lot of poor performances and not enough points picked up at home (before the lockdown), but I think we’ve turned that around. Hopefully that’s a good building block for the future, especially at home.
'It's extra special'
“As time has gone on, we’ve missed the fans more. We’ve missed the atmosphere, those little things in a game that give you an extra edge or lift.
“When you get three points in front of your own fans it’s extra special and we’re very pleased to have them back.”