SAINTS boss Nigel Adkins insists his squad can withstand the heat of the Championship run-in.
Adam Lallana’s two goals against Barnsley on a sunny afternoon at St Mary’s has set Saints up nicely for the tenmatch run-in.
Saints were rewarded for their sweat and toil by extending their lead at the top to three points after West Ham were held at home by lowly Doncaster.
But both the Hammers and Reading could join Saints on the same amount of points if they won their game in hand.
Adkins said: “It was a good win in extremely hot conditions against a very spirited Barnsley side.
“The tempo of the game was dictated by the heat and we had worked very hard and expended a lot of energy in the last two games against Leeds and Ipswich.
“But with ten games to go now we controlled the game and that’s important at this stage of the season.
“It was great, with half an hour to go, to be able to take Rickie Lambert off so he doesn’t run the risk of picking up an injury.
“It was hot out there, it was his third game in a week and he’s a big guy.
“It’s physically demanding, especially for the bigger guys, and it’s great for Southampton FC that we were in a position to change things around.”
Although Lambert did not get on the scoresheet, he helped create Lallana’s two goals.
“Adam scored a really good goal, reacting first to Rickie’s knockdown and Tadanari Lee produced a good run for the second after being played in by Rickie,” Adkins, left,, continued.
“Adam should have had the opportunity for a hat-trick with a penalty; video footage suggested it should have been a penalty.
“But no one can deny our passing was very good. We adapted our shape a bit in the first half and in the second half our performance was outstanding.
“The crowd were right with us and understood what we were trying to do, because we’ve done it consistently this season.
“They made some great noise and I think everyone enjoyed the afternoon.”
West Ham’s draw at home to Doncaster provided further good news, but Adkins preferred to deliver his oft-repeated mantra rather than dwell on the form of Saints’ rivals. “All we can do is control ourselves,” he said.
• Full story in today's Daily Echo along with a full match report of the2-0 over Barnsley , pictures and all the match reaction.