SHANE Long has paid tribute to Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl.

Both Long and Hasenhuttl signed new deals to extend their stay at St Mary’s earlier this week.

The boss penned a four-year contract on Tuesday, with the Irishman committing to an extra two years.

And Long claims he’s feeling better than ever – especially with Hasenhuttl at the helm.

“I think since Ronald Koeman left we’ve been trying to find the right manager and find the right fit, and I’ve got that feeling coming back again,” Long told the official Southampton FC website.

“We’ve got the right manager and a group of players who are improving week by week, and I know the club wants to add to that and bring in more strength in depth.

“I can see the club pushing up the league, back to where we all want to be, and I want to be part of that.

“The manager is a big cause – he likes what I bring to the team and he likes how I play. As a player, that’s all you want.”

Long was due to become a free agent this summer, six years after joining Saints from Hull for £12million.

The Republic of Ireland international has made over 200 appearances for the club and has scored 35 times and labelled his new contract as a ‘big relief’.

Saints didn’t want to extend any contracts before they reached 36 points in the Premier League, but the coronavirus pandemic brought that timeframe forward.

Long added: “It’s a big relief for me.

“Obviously it’s not nice coming to the end of your contract with a family at home, not knowing where they’re going to be in the summer.

“It’s taken a while, with the pandemic going on, which is totally understandable. I’m just delighted to get it done.

“My family are very happy here. My kids have settled in school, my wife loves the area and personally I love the area.”