Sporting heartbreak can take different forms.

Saints have proven they can recover from one of them, and now they must get over another ahead of a crucial game in the context of their season.

Getting beaten 9-0 is a particular kind of problem from which to bounce back.

It is not just a result that can knock the confidence but totally shatter it, leaving a squad in pieces and not quite knowing where to turn for solace as the criticism rains in.

Saints closed ranks, came out in the Carabao Cup tie at Manchester City and went on a damage limitation exercise.

They then turned up at the Etihad Stadium again five days later to take on City in the Premier League and showed how quickly they had put the Foxes debacle behind them.

Everything they lacked against Leicester they had in bucketloads against City. We are hearing the phrase ‘a week is a long time in politics’ a lot at the moment. Eight days in football can be just as changeable.

Saints were committed, mentally tough, resilient. They showed a never say die type of attitude, they threw their bodies in the way of everything and possessed great discipline tactically.

Some would argue a rear-guard action is almost easier in the circumstances. After all, you go to City and you are expected to lose so there is little pressure. However, playing City means you face such quality that every player must fear any individual mistake could open the floodgates.

It seemed as if the unlikely might happen as James Ward-Prowse capitalised on an Ederson error to give Saints the lead and, despite being under almost constant pressure, they kept City at bay.

Some of that was City being unable to find a decent final ball up against what was often ten of Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men inside their own area.

But, also, Saints deserve huge credit for sticking so doggedly to their task.

In the end it was heartbreak of a different kind to that against Leicester as a late goal meant Saints’ efforts went unrewarded.

So now the challenge for Hasenhuttl is to lift spirits again ahead of facing Everton.

That match, the last before the international break, looks so important. If Saints can get a first home win of the season the relief will be palpable and midtable will seem a likely destination this season.

If it goes badly then Saints would appear to be in another relegation battle.

At least this time Hasenhuttl has plenty of positives to work with as he tries to pick his men up off the floor once again.