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Hasenhuttl praise for Ward-Prowse

Southampton 2 Everton 1

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Southampton's Nathan Redmond celebrates. Photo: Getty Images

Southampton's Nathan Redmond celebrates. Photo: Getty Images

Getty Images

Southampton's Nathan Redmond celebrates. Photo: Getty Images

Ralph Hasenhuttl hailed James Ward-Prowse's never-say-die spirit to muscle his way back into a pivotal role at Southampton. Ward-Prowse's thunderbolt strike sealed Saints' win, the England midfielder netting in successive top-flight matches for the first time.

The Austrian told Ward-Prowse to "toughen up" before the turn of the year, and the 24-year-old has quickly delivered.

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Southampton's Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg battles for possession with Everton's Lucas Digne. Photo: Getty Images

Southampton's Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg battles for possession with Everton's Lucas Digne. Photo: Getty Images

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Hasenhuttl praised Ward-Prowse's patience, having been on the periphery in previous regimes, and backed the one-cap England man to keep improving.

"He was waiting a long time to be part of the first XI, under different managers before," said Hasenhuttl. "But it showed his mentality that he never stopped working hard. I think sometimes you earn the chance to play in the first XI, and if you have this chance, grab it with both hands."

Hasenhuttl has needed just eight matches to claim more Premier League wins at Southampton than previous boss Mark Hughes managed in 22.

The former RB Leipzig manager now boasts four victories in eight league games, with Saints tentatively looking up the table rather than over shoulders.

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Southampton's Oriol Romeu rises with Everton's André Gomes. Photo: Getty Images

Southampton's Oriol Romeu rises with Everton's André Gomes. Photo: Getty Images

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Ward-Prowse's fine strike settled a few nerves after a scoreless first half, before Andre Gomes put through his own net in flicking away from the marauding Nathan Redmond.

Gylfi Sigurdsson's added time finish set up a tense finale, but Saints held on for a fully-merited victory. Frustrated Everton boss Marco Silva admitted the Toffees were second best in almost every department. "Southampton totally deserved the win," he said.

Sunday Indo Sport