There has been plenty of quite justifiable talk about the performances of Saints’ centre halves over not just the first few weeks of this season but the last months and years.

So, it is only correct to provide a counter point when it is deserved and correct.

And against Manchester United it most certainly was as Jan Bednarek and Jannik Vestergaard put in one of the most competent displays of central defending you could wish to see.

They look like the release of being able to play in a back four rather than as part of three centre halves has helped them massively.

It was a slightly curious tactic from Ralph Hasenhuttl to begin with. It has felt as if some sort of insurance policy was in play and the hope that more centre halves on the field would lead to less goals conceded.

But that tactic only works if you set your game up to play in such a manner, and Saints were not able to quite deliver that successfully.

The move to a back four, to show confidence in the defence and also allow an extra body in front of the last line, has been huge.

While Bednarek was finally back nearer the form he showed after being recalled to the team following Hasenhuttl’s appointment, Vestergaard was a colossus.

He has a huge frame and boasts a big stature on the pitch and yet his aerial ability, particularly in the opposition box, has been strangely suspect.

When he signed it was assumed he would be contributing a good five or more goals a season from attacking set-pieces, and yet it took until 30 appearances to register on the scoresheet. Hopefully that is a sign of things to come for him.

On the ground it can occasionally be a struggle for him to sort his feet out against quick opposition, but against United he looked far sharper than he has previously. He looked a proper centre half.

Saints weren’t great for much of the game against United. Again, they had good patches but were relieved that their opposition weren’t out of sight by half time.

Cedric Soares and Sofiane Boufal got long awaited recalls to the Premier League starting line-up but neither impressed hugely in the way Oriol Romeu did.

Once Kevin Danso was sent off it was back to the walls stuff and Saints showed resilience to dig in.

Given a difficult opening run of fixtures, to have four points on the board from four games is an acceptable return.

They might not have come in the most convincing of manners but part of being a successful team over a long season is riding out these periods without disastrous runs of results, and Saints have done that.

Assuming they improve from here then they look like having the kind of mid-table season most would have settled for before the campaign started.