Saints continue to show signs of life, and signs of improvement, but Mark Hughes could be forgiven for wondering what more he needs to do to finally turn that into a win.

Just one victory in 14 matches this season is a pretty dire record for Saints, and with that in mind the only shock is that they find themselves third from bottom rather than propping up the rest.

However, there is no doubt that it doesn’t really tell the whole story.

Even in some of the more frustrating defeats and draws there have often been creditable displays.

Indeed, in recent times where it has felt like results have got worse and worse, there have still been decent performances from the team.

What they have been missing is that vital ingredient to get over the line.

Going into facing Manchester United, Saints did pretty well at Fulham, but individual errors at key moments at both ends of the pitch cost them dearly.

At Leicester in the Carabao Cup they were the better team, yet the woodwork, the keeper, a missed chance and a saved penalty saw them trudging back to the south coast beaten again.

As patchy as United’s form has been this season, and given the one St Mary’s league win in calendar year stat, there were few Saints supporters feeling that optimistic about this fixture.

Certainly most fans would gladly have taken a point from this game.

But, then, maybe not from 2-0 up and dominating the game as Saints did.

It felt all too predictable that when United scored one they would get another, and Saints didn't help their own cause with some of their defending in those moments.

Credit, though, to Saints, who showed character in the second half to ensure they got a point.

United are a curious team and it was extremely strange that they only seemed to play with any urgency and intensity when they were behind. Given the joy they had when they did so their second half showing was all the more baffling, albeit Saints were committed in their containing job.

For Hughes the performance and the result was enough to give him the chance to point to further progress as the pressure no doubt ratchets up another notch, as it will continue to do every day Saints are inside the bottom three.

It gives Saints a dilemma too. If they are contemplating a change then can you afford to make the move when there are signs things are improving a bit? Get it wrong in that instance and you will relegate the team.

Hughes must just be so desperate to turn these performances into a win. He knows that it’s really only doing that which can convince the club to stick with him in the long term.