Saints’ new honorary president Terry Paine says the club should take great encouragement from the team’s performance against Arsenal.
Nigel Adkins’ men drew 1-1 with the Gunners at St Mary’s on Tuesday night in a game dominated by the home side.
The result moved Saints out of the relegation zone, but it was the performance as much as the point that caught Paine’s eye.
“We certainly held our own and I thought on the day that we might have won it,” he said. “Arsenal certainly didn’t deserve to win it, that’s for sure. I thought we worked extremely hard.
“I thought it was very good collectively. Everybody played their part. That was the important thing that really came over to me. Everyone did their job.
“You’ve only got to look at how the team has developed and improved from the 6-1 defeat (at Arsenal) earlier in the season.
“They have cut out the errors that were hurting them and they look more likely to keep clean sheets now.
“Clearly, a lot of hard work has been taking place on the training ground. I found it very encouraging.”
Paine was presented to the crowd before kick-off and officially took up his new title in a ceremony involving the daughters of the late Ted Bates, Jo and Jackie.
Bates, the former player, manager and president dubbed ‘Mr Southampton’, was the man who brought Paine to the club.
“It was quite emotional in many ways,” said Paine, Saints’ record appearance holder. “The reception I got was absolutely first class. It was very special to have Jo and Jackie there.”