Southampton played out a 3-3 thriller with Bournemouth at the weekend and could have taken all three points had they managed to hold on in the final ten minutes but, given that they had already forfeited their 1-0 lead, the result against an attacking Cherries side was impressive nonetheless.
The point meant that the Saints are mathematically safe with two games remaining and so much credit has to go to Ralph Hasenhuttl, who has completely turned their season around since taking over back in December.
A number of players have benefitted greatly under the Austrian’s guidance but none more so than Yan Valery, who has blossomed into one of the brightest, young defensive talents since.
When Cedric Soares departed on loan to Inter Milan in January, huge pressure to hold down the right-back spot was placed on 20-year-old Valery’s shoulders, but he has coped with it remarkably well and his performance at St Mary’s Stadium on Saturday was the latest in a number of impressive showings.
Completing five tackles – more than Jack Stephens, Jan Bednarek, Oriol Romeu and James Ward-Prowse put together – the Frenchman was a rock at the back for Southampton but was equally important on the front foot, as he teed up Matt Targett for his side’s third of the afternoon.
From last minute penalties to being taken apart by local rivals, fans pick the moments that defined their clubs’ seasons in the video below…
With a performance like that far from a fluke, Southampton will be extremely thankful that they managed to tie the starlet down until 2023 just over a month ago – there would surely have been a number of suitors in the summer otherwise, with Valery’s previous deal set to expire imminently. Certainly, the decision was Ralph Krueger’s last great contribution to the south coast outfit before his departure was announced earlier this month.