The boss of the Saints chipper after his captain’s quality brought the team to life

Ralph Hasenhuttl honored Southampton captain James Ward-Prowse after the free kick specialist succeeded with a puzzle piece in Wednesday’s 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace.

Wilfried Zaha gave the Eagles an early lead and the home side took control but the Saints captain was there to turn the game around with a superb equalizer in the 32nd minute.

Ward-Prowse worked his way past the wall and into the top corner from 25 yards to score directly from a free kick for the 11th time in Premier League putting him at number three on the all-time list.

It kept the guests alive at Selhurst Park and Armando Broja took the lead minutes later, but they had to settle for a point after Jordan Ayew leveled for Palace midway through the second half.

Hasenhuttl said of the free-kick: “It helps a lot because the ground is suddenly very quiet here and our fans are awake.

“This is what you need in that moment. It’s amazing that our fans fought with us and supported us until the end. We are always happy to have them and give all we can to them.

“For Prowsey it was a good moment to show his quality and then the confidence was there to play the way we wanted to play.

“We had a lot of chances to score more goals and yes, in the second half I saw a game of both teams fighting for everything.”

Despite a point in London, Southampton have gone six games without a win and Hasenhuttl admits they need to try to earn more free-kicks in central area to help their captain tap into his talents even more.

“It’s a good weapon that we have to be more often in a situation where the opposition can foul us,” declared the Austrian.

“I am delighted to have him in my squad and I am delighted that he has this quality. I think we have to give him more free kicks in this position.”

Palace Master Patrick Vieira Conceding a goal when watching Ward-Prowse score from a free-kick is “painful” but it must be admitted that the English midfielder possesses the ability to commit crimes.

He added: “It is painful but you have to recognize the quality of the players on the ball.

“When it’s a corner or a free kick, or a central free kick, we know that’s one of their strong points. He took his chance very well and in that situation you just have to congratulate that player.”

Vieira was less than impressed with the team’s overall performance and insisted they did not deserve the win.

“When you look at the game overall, I’m happy with a point because I think they played really good football, they put a lot of pressure on us and we couldn’t overcome that pressure, ” I said.

“In the end they had a couple of chances and situations too, so I think the point we took tonight, in terms of how we played, I don’t think we deserved more than that.” The boss of the Saints chipper after his captain’s quality brought the team to life


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