Southampton fans have taken to Twitter to lavish praise on Shane Long, following the crucial win over Norwich which saw the Saints move out of the relegation zone.
Ralph Hasenhuttl decided to hand Long – who has 82 caps for the Republic of Ireland national team – just his second Premier League start of the campaign, and it proved to be an inspired decision as the former Reading man shone.
The 32-year-old striker managed to grab the assist for Ryan Bertrand’s goal – which turned out to be the decisive strike – while also taking three shots, making two key passes, and winning a very impressive seven aerials duels too.
Long also completed two tackles and drew two fouls from the opposition, on an evening where he ran the Norwich back-line ragged with his willingness to chase every seemingly lost cause.
This supporter below called the Irishman “tireless” and said that no cause is a lost cause for Long, who contributed heavily to the Canaries’ inability to play the ball out from the back.
Can we just talk about Shane Long? Tireless. No cause a lost cause. Big, big contributor to Norwich’s defence struggling to play the ball. #saintsfc
— Ant James (@antonydjames) December 4, 2019
Anther supporter said that the Saints were much weaker in terms of pressing the opponent when Long went off in the 85th minute, while also praising his “fantastic” leap for the second goal.
Played brilliant tonight. Fantastic leap for the 2nd goal. When he went off we didn’t put any pressure on their defense and they just took the initiative.
— Adeem (@adeem761) December 4, 2019
Strikers didn’t allow Norwich to play tonight. Pressed high the whole game. Tireless work. Long has an incredible engine.
— Tom Forder (@tomforder69) December 4, 2019
Additionally, this supporter echoed the feelings of the aforementioned fan in saying that Long’s withdrawal made a visibly negative impact on the pressing, stating that the Southampton No.7’s intensity was “fundamental”.
His pressing was fundamental for us, it showed when he came off
— SH (@swhftbl) December 4, 2019
Lastly, these two supporters below continued the adoration over Long’s performance, with one stating that he was “absolutely superb”, while the other said the forward was “brilliant” and also commended his match-winning assist.
Shane Long was absolutely superb tonight. #saintsfc
— Caddy (@CaddyWooldridge) December 4, 2019
Shane Long by the way was brilliant I thought. Never gave the Norwich defence time to play the ball and as usual no ball is a lost cause to that man. Great flick on for the Bertrand goal too #saintsfc
— Dan Heritage (@DanHeritage) December 4, 2019
In other Southampton news, take a look at two Newcastle players who the Saints should be wary of this weekend…