Southampton secured another Premier League win against Aston Villa on Friday evening and moved themselves comfortably clear of the relegation zone in the process.
It was a routine win for Saints in the end and caused Villa boss Dean Smith to lose his job, but Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl certainly played his part in securing a big three points.
The first-half was all one-way traffic and should have seen the hosts find the net more than once, but a turning of the tide early in the second-half saw Villa put the pressure on.
Thankfully, after a tactical switch from Hasenhuttl, Saints were able to see out their victory with plenty left in the tank.
Hasenhuttl shows flexibility with change of Southampton system
Southampton started the game in their usual 4-2-2-2 formation and it helped them to dominate the first period in terms of possession and chances.
With Villa pushing his side back though, Hasenhuttl made a call shortly after half-time to bring Stuart Armstrong off and replace him with centre-back Lyanco.
Armstrong had looked slightly rusty after making his first Premier League start but was sacrificed to allow a switch to 3-5-2 – providing an extra body at the heart of the defence for Villa to try and breakthrough.
Moving Tino Livramento and Kyle Walker-Peters to wing-back roles also meant that there was almost always an out ball ready for the home side when they turned defence into attack. Walker-Peters in particular was a key outlet during the whole 90 minutes.
Saints did struggle to create with their breakaways in their second-half and often had only one or two joining the player in possession but the most important thing was that the backline remained strong and secured the 1-0 win.
Hasenhuttl has taken a while to find the right systems for a plan B but he looks to have found it now and this will only improve his team’s chances of winning more games against varied opponents this season.