Ralph Hasenhuttl hailed Saints’ performance in the 2-1 win over Everton as the best of his time as the club’s manager.

Saints worked tirelessly, and with no little skill, to complete a deserved win over the Toffees to make it back-to-back Premier League victories and further ease their relegation fears.

Aside from a late scare as Everton pulled a goal back, it was a dominating display from Saints, who were well worth the win which moved them up to 15th in the table.

“I think it was the best performance so far since I am here as a manager,” said Hasenhuttl, whose team quickly bounced back from their FA Cup penalty shootout defeat to Derby.

“You did not see that we were a team that was playing on Wednesday evening 120 minutes.

“We were physically very strong but what I liked more was we were just footballing fantastic I think.

“How we transitioned the ball wins to chances was amazing and we could score four, five or six times. We twice hit the post in the first half when the game was very tight.

“You could feel that everybody is believing in what we are doing and it’s only a question of time when we start to score or grab the win.

“I think in every kind against the ball and with the ball our best performance so far and I am very happy about that.”

St Mary’s was rocking as fans rallied behind the team, responding to the effort their side showed on the pitch.

It paid off, too, as Hasenhuttl’s pre-match call for unity came to fruition and supporters were able to enjoy only the second home victory of the season.

“We try to put everything on the pitch and they had the feeling it was unbelievable how much they worked in this 90 minutes, or 98,” smiled Hasenhuttl.

“I think the guys feel that they appreciate a lot what they are doing on the pitch at the moment.

“You can feel it’s a very positive atmosphere at the moment. Everyone can identify with this team.

“The passion they show in every game is amazing and then the wins and all the good results come along the way.”

He added: “At first we were very close to have the first clean sheet at home. We didn’t and that’s a pity and because of the history of the week where we had a 2-0 lead and gave it away in the end it was really not nice this eight minute overtime.

“We spoke before the game about what we will do until however long.

“It was fantastic how we defended the last set-pieces, with passion and a lot of character and Jan Bednarek is our firefighter in the box. He nearly clears everything. It was fantastic.”