Saints ensnare Foxes for sweet revenge

LEICESTER • Southampton on Saturday gave all their travelling fans at Leicester City vouchers for a free drink to thank them for their support - but nothing will have matched the sweet taste of success on the pitch.

The Saints went into the game at the King Power Stadium having endured a humiliating 9-0 loss in the reverse fixture in October. But they took their revenge when striker Danny Ings sealed all three points with a late winner.

The 2-1 comeback win meant Southampton have won four of their last five league games to climb out of the relegation zone, a huge turnaround from a few months ago when manager Ralph Hasenhuettl was facing questions about his future at the club.

"We never spoke about revenge during the week. It was more about giving ourselves an answer for what happened that night. We gave the right answer today," the Austrian said.

"If you concede the first goal against a team who has scored nine against you, you have to be mentally strong to respond. We prepared well for this game and, in the end, we had more power."

A big part of his team's resurgence is down to Hasenhuettl's decision to switch to a back four, abandoning the 3-5-2 and 3-4-3 formations that let them down earlier in the campaign.

Dennis Praet fired the Foxes into an early lead, but Stuart Armstrong's deflected effort quickly pulled the visitors level. Danny Ings then scored his 10th goal in 11 games nine minutes from time and Southampton survived a late scare when Jonny Evans' header was ruled out by the video assistant referee for offside.

Ings said: "You can see we've got smiles on our faces. Even in the last few minutes, we're working hard and winning tackles."

Leicester have claimed just one point from the last three matches in front of their own fans and manager Brendan Rodgers refused to blame the team's hectic schedule, which included a League Cup semi-final first leg against Aston Villa on Wednesday.

He added: "We were just not quite at our best today. Normally we are good defensively.

"We didn't press well enough and we made too many mistakes with the ball."

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 13, 2020, with the headline 'Saints ensnare Foxes for sweet revenge'. Print Edition | Subscribe