Monday 24 July 2017

Puel looking up as Saints march on

West Bromwich Albion 0 Southampton1

Jordy Clasie celebrates his first league goal for Southampton.
Jordy Clasie celebrates his first league goal for Southampton.

Nick Mashiter

Southampton boss Claude Puel reckons this win at West Brom can give the Saints a perfect platform to end the season. Jordy Clasie's first Premier League goal earned back-to-back league wins to edge the Saints four points behind the eighth-placed Baggies.

Puel's side have two games in hand on Albion but they were indebted to Fraser Forster, who produced a fine reaction stop to deny Craig Dawson an equaliser in injury-time. And the Frenchman is eager to look ahead to the final seven games following Clasie's first-half winner.

Southampton boss Claude Puel wants his side to continue a good run until the end of the season after yesterday's win.
Southampton boss Claude Puel wants his side to continue a good run until the end of the season after yesterday's win.

"We will see in the future but it was important to take this result, to keep a good ambition for the end of the season. I think the spirit and attitude of the players was perfect," said Puel, with Southampton ninth.

"Now it's important to keep this regularly and we will see against (Manchester) City for the next game."

The Saints were comfortable for long spells but needed Forster to secure the points when he clawed away Dawson's six-yard volley before saving from Jonny Evans a minute later.

Puel added: "It was fantastic for Fraser to finish the game with a clean sheet. I think we made a fantastic first half with quality in many situations and many opportunities but without the second goal."

Tony Pulis will be disappointed with the home defeat.
Tony Pulis will be disappointed with the home defeat.

It was a forgettable game where the Baggies lacked the quality to break the Saints down as Salomon Rondon, who has not scored since December, was also thwarted by Forster in the first half.

Defeat was Albion's second on the spin after Tuesday's 2-0 defeat at Watford.

Manager Tony Pulis said: "We've got to hit the target and be more clinical in front of goal. Southampton are a good side but in the last 20 to 25 minutes we really took over the game. That's when you need that little bit of composure to put the ball in the back of the net.

"There are lots of areas I'm going to look at in the summer, there's no way that I'm going to criticise this group of players."

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