Southampton secured its Premier League safety on Saturday with a 3-3 draw at home to south-coast rival Bournemouth.
With third-to-last Cardiff losing 1-0 at Fulham, Southampton is seven points clear of the relegation zone with two games to play and guaranteed to have an eighth straight season in England’s lucrative top flight.
Callum Wilson grabbed a point for Bournemouth in the 86th minute with his second goal of a game watched by England manager Gareth Southgate. Wilson, who made his England debut during this season, has 14 goals for the season and nine assists, one of which came in this game to set up Dan Gosling for 1-1.
Shane Long’s fourth goal in five league games handed Southampton the perfect start after 12 minutes, only for Gosling and Callum Wilson to turn the tide for Bournemouth by the 32nd.
James Ward-Prowse drilled in a fine equalizer after the break, before Matt Targett nodded in at the end of a smart move to restore Southampton’s lead in the 67th with his first top-flight goal.
Southampton’s Austrian manager, Ralph Hasenhuettl, always pledged he would keep Saints up when taking the helm late last year. Back in early December, Saints sat 18th in the table and with just three wins in 22 league matches under Mark Hughes across the end of last season and the start of this.
Hasenhuettl quickly transformed the atmosphere and attitude at St Mary’s, however, and now his side can look forward to more productive times.