Southampton stroll to much-needed victory over Everton

West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur also stay on course for Europe with home victories
Southampton striker Shane Long, left, vies with Everton defender Phil Jagielka during their English Premier League match at St Mary's Stadium in Southampton, England, on December 20, 2014. Glyn Kirk / AFP
Southampton striker Shane Long, left, vies with Everton defender Phil Jagielka during their English Premier League match at St Mary's Stadium in Southampton, England, on December 20, 2014. Glyn Kirk / AFP

A delighted Ronald Koeman paid tribute to his Southampton side as they ended a run of five defeats in a row in style by beating Everton 3-0 at the St Mary’s Stadium on Saturday.

Koeman’s side had been the surprise package of the Premier League early on as they sat in second spot behind Chelsea, but defeats against Manchester City, Arsenal, Manchester United and Burnley had dropped them down the table to fifth, while they were beaten 1-0 by League One side Sheffield United in the quarter-finals of the League Cup in midweek.

But they bounced back on Saturday as an own goal from Romelu Lukaku and strikes from Graziano Pelle and Maya Yoshida returned them to winning ways, and Koeman said: “If you show more spirit you are invariably more lucky.

“After the goal we had more belief and more confidence after losing four or five games. Hopefully we got some confidence back.”

The result leaves them still fifth, two points behind West Ham United, who maintained their impressive run of form as they defeated bottom side Leicester City 2-0 thanks to goals from Andy Carroll and Stewart Downing.

Erik Lamela scored the winner for Tottenham Hotspur as the London side moved up to sixth in the table with a 2-1 victory over Burnley.

Harry Kane had given Tottenham the lead, only for Ashley Barnes to level.

But Lamela struck 10 minutes before half-time as Tottenham made it four wins from five games.

Burnley drop into the relegation zone as a result of their loss in place of Queens Park Rangers, who came from two goals down to beat West Bromwich Albion 3-2, with Charlie Austin scoring a hat-trick.

Joleon Lescott and Silvestre Varela had put West Brom in charge inside the first 20 minutes, but Austin netted his first from the penalty spot before equalising three minutes into the second half and then striking home the winner four minutes from time.

Hull City’s woes continued as they were beaten 1-0 at home by Swansea City thanks to Ki Sung-yueng’s goal.

Hull have only won twice all season and remain second bottom of the table and manager Steve Bruce said: “This afternoon, the more we tried the worse we got. Swansea didn’t have to do too much to win the game and we didn’t do enough.”

sports@thenational.ae

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Published: December 20, 2014 04:00 AM

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