Graham Potter claimed Brighton’s crucial win over Southampton has reinforced their belief that they can avoid relegation.
Leandro Trossard settled the south-coast showdown by firing the Seagulls to a 2-1 victory at St Mary’s.
Lewis Dunk headed them ahead and, although Che Adams equalised for Saints with his third goal in three matches, Trossard conjured up a classy second-half winner.
The Seagulls were looking over their shoulders after three straight defeats and no wins in five meant they kicked off level on points with resurgent Fulham in 18th.
But their fifth win away from home this season gives Potter’s side some breathing space at the bottom and, notably, saw them climb above Newcastle, who they face next.
Potter said: “I thought it was a deserved victory, it was a hard-fought game so I’m pleased for the players. We’ve had to suffer recently but we got the reward for the performance.
“They’re all massive games, we’ve 10 to go, the next one is always important and the next one is Newcastle.
“This three points gives us confidence and renewed belief. We’re going to keep fighting.
“We have belief in ourselves and believe that if we keep performing like we have been we can get results. It’s nice to have that reinforced.”
Trossard’s 56th-minute winner was the first time Brighton had managed to score more than one goal in a Premier League match since the turn of the year.
Former Saints midfielder Adam Lallana picked out Danny Welbeck, who pinged a first-time lay-off straight into the path of Trossard.
The Belgium winger barely had to break stride as he scythed through the middle of Southampton’s backline and crashed his shot past Fraser Forster.
Southampton tried to hit back again and Seagulls keeper Robert Sanchez saved with his legs from Adams before James Ward-Prowse’s shot was charged down
But it is now 10 defeats from their last 12 matches for Southampton, who could really do with finding a win from somewhere just to ease any fears of being dragged into trouble themselves.
Manager Ralph Hasenhuttl said: “It was not good. It was very disappointing what we showed especially in the second half.
“In the first half you got the feeling the opponent wanted it a little bit more. We changed it in the second half but the second goal cannot happen. We were defending far too sloppily.
“When you don’t win games you are always in danger and at the moment we are struggling to find points.”