Southampton’s Jan Bednarek has revealed the sense of relief he and his team-mates felt after their 1-0 FA Cup third-round victory at Fulham.
James Ward-Prowse’s first-half finish secured their progress to the fourth round and, at a time when manager Mauricio Pellegrino is under growing pressure, their first win in 10 games.
Summer signing Bednarek, 21, was making only his second appearance for the club, and his first since August, in the absence of the injured Cedric Soares and Jeremy Pied.
He started out of position at right-back, but Southampton defended well and deserved their victory.
He told the club’s official website: “The most important part was just to reach the next round and give 100 per cent.
“We haven’t won for a while and played poorly last time out, so it was important to be one team and play together. The fans helped us very well.
“We have to go step by step and stick together to reach our goals. The result was the most important thing here, more so than how we did it. We struggled in some moments of the game, but we deserved to win.
“I was calm because I have been working hard for this opportunity. I was patient and showed to the coach that I was ready. I did my job, kept a clean sheet so I’m happy.
“To be honest, it was my first game in professional football as a right-back. My team-mates helped me through it very well and overall we defended well.”