Wednesday 5 April 2017 23:25, UK
Southampton's objective for the rest of the season is to seal a top-half finish in the Premier League after their 3-1 win against Crystal Palace on Wednesday night, according to manager Claude Puel.
The Saints came from behind to beat relegation-threatened Palace at St Mary's, a victory that saw the home side move back into the top half of the table after a recent run of poor results.
And now Puel wants his team - who are sitting in ninth, albeit with games in hand on their rivals - to build on that win and finish strongly in their final nine matches of the campaign, starting at West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.
"We did a fantastic game, we dominated this team with many possibilities," he said. "We had a lot of chances without being clinical and we found a solution at the end, which was good reward for all the players because we kept going in the game. It was a fantastic game and we deserved this result.
"But all the team kept going, which is really important, and we deserved this result. At the end it was a shame this draw because of all the opportunities we had and I also thought we could have had three penalties in the first half. So it was a difficult scenario, but at the end all the squad are happy with the result.
"This was a very important game because other teams behind us came back, so it was important to take these points. After we have to pay against West Bromwich and it is an objective to try and get a good result away against this team who are a difficult team with confidence. To come back at West Bromwich is a big objective, so let's see this possibility in the next game at West Bromwich.
"Every game it is difficult to know the scenario of each game, but the [EFL Cup] final and the other games were always with quality with good play and spirit.
"Sometimes we had good results, sometimes it was not enough. But I think we stayed with a good performance and it is now important to stay in the top half of the table and this is the objective for the moment."
Southampton's victory would have been a lot more comfortable had Shane Long not spurned a number of presentable openings, especially in the second half when the striker was twice faced with just Wayne Hennessey to beat, only to fluff his lines on each occasion.
"He was unlucky with different possibilities, but he works very well for the team and gives opportunities, good runs and movements behind the defenders," said Puel.
"It was a good game for Shane, but unlucky with his chances as he had many situations with Dusan [Tadic], but it is a shame."
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