Nathan Redmond wants to end a topsy-turvy season for himself and Southampton with a bang after firing Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men into the FA Cup semi-finals.
Despite their wretched recent Premier League run, Saints’ top-flight quality shone through in Saturday lunchtime’s quarter-final at Championship neighbours Bournemouth.
Redmond was the star of the show at the empty Vitality Stadium, smartly slipping Moussa Djenepo in for the opener before scoring a fine solo goal on the stroke of half-time.
The 27-year-old wrapped up a 3-0 victory by scoring a second-half rebound, putting Saints through to April’s FA Cup semi-finals and a potentially exciting end to a season that has gone awry in recent months.
“I think we just needed go back to some of the stuff we were doing at the start of the season and realise some of the sort of positions in which we were going wrong, and some of the areas which we weren’t hurting teams as much as we know we can,” Redmond said.
“Today we had to take it serious because not so long ago we came here, we won and they ended up getting relegated so there’s a bit of that in there.
“They’ve been playing some good football in the Championship this year. They’re pushing for the play-offs and to get promoted again.
“It was never going to be an easy game but we knew that if we stuck to our principles and what we know, and also having that sort of expressive freedom to go and hurt teams, then we should have been fine.”
Redmond was part of the Saints side that narrowly lost the EFL Cup final 3-2 to Manchester United in 2017, then returned to Wembley the following year as Chelsea won their FA Cup semi-final clash 2-0.
“I thought we were unlucky in the League Cup one,” Redmond said. “The FA Cup one, Chelsea were very, very good that day so it was difficult for us and I think we were in a difficult moment in terms of scrapping, in terms of relegation survival.
“I think this time’s a little bit different.
“We’d probably want a few more points on the board than what we have right now but hopefully this sort of game and the break coming up does us well, so we can focus and really give it a good go for the final push of the season.”
Redmond is also hoping to make sustained improvements in his own game, with Hasenhuttl saying after Saturday’s game the he has had a “very difficult season so far”.
The one-cap England international has had his high and lows since moving St Mary’s from Norwich in 2016 and hopes to kick on now.
“I think I’ve just got to be a bit more focused in channelling the aggression and putting it in a more positive place,” he said.
“I think obviously you go through transitions in your career, which you start probably thinking about the game a little bit too much and start worrying about things that are sort of out of your control.
“I had a couple of conversations with the manager and a few of the coaching staff this week.
“I knew how important it was for us to get to the next round, I knew if I sort of channelled that aggression, put it in a positive place I knew I could probably have an effect on the team.”
Saints head into the international break on a high, while Bournemouth boss Jonathan Woodgate is looking forward to a chance for his side to catch their breath before the last push for promotion.
“We’ll have (David) Brooks back, (Junior) Stanislas back,” he said. “Jeff Lerma will be back. Hopefully Adam Smith’s not too far away, Lloyd Kelly, then it’ll be better for us.
“They’ve got some exceptional players in their team. They’re a good team.
“We looked knackered, out on our feet, to be honest with you.
“The players kept on going, they showed the right mentality but Southampton were more clinical in the box and showed some exceptional finishing.”