Southampton 2 Leicester City 0
Shane Long will go into Ireland’s crucial Euro 2016 qualifier against Scotland on Friday in confident mood after his first Premier League goals for Southampton maintain their remarkable — and improbable — title push.
The Saints were toiling against a resolute Leicester City outfit when Long was introduced to the fray.
The Tipperary man opened the scoring within seven minutes before wrapping up the three points five minutes later.
“Luckily the goals have been coming from everywhere on the pitch and that pressure wasn’t solely on me, so I think it was more to do with me and my own personal aims to get off the mark,” Long said.
“I’ve been playing well, I feel like I’ve been causing defences problems. It was nice for me to get two today and hopefully I can build on that. The main thing was getting three points.
“Luckily the chances fell my way and it was nice to see them hit the net. Obviously I’m delighted.”
Manger Ronald Koeman was thrilled with result that kept the Saints within four points of leaders Chelsea and hailed Long’s attitude.
“Shane made the difference. He might have been disappointed not to be playing but his attitude was fantastic.”
Leicester striker Leonardo Ulloa believes the Foxes need to display more physical and mental strength if they are to avoid relegation.
A decent start to life in the top flight has quickly tapered off, with Nigel Pearson’s promoted side without a win since September 21.
“It is a difficult situation,” Ulloa said. “We knew that this game would be difficult, but we need to be thinking about the next game now.
“At moments we played well but they created more chances.
“We need to think about the next game. We need more mentally and physically.”
SOUTHAMPTON: Forster, Clyne, Fonte, Alderweireld, Bertrand, Steven Davis (Cork 40), Wanyama, Schneiderlin (Reed 90), Tadic, Pelle, Mane (Long 68).
LEICESTER: Schmeichel, De Laet (Moore 54), Wasilewski, Morgan, Schlupp, Cambiasso, James, Drinkwater, King (Powell 76), Vardy, Ulloa (Wood 71).
Referee: Michael Oliver.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved