RALPH Hasenhuttl insists that his Saints side “have done everything what we could” in a thrilling 1-1 draw with Chelsea, despite eventual penalty shootout heartbreak.

The Premier League-leading Blues triumphed 4-3 in the shootout to go into the quarter final of the EFL Cup, but not before they had been run into the ground by an inspired Saints side.

Hasenhuttl named nine changes from his starting XI that drew 2-2 with Burnley on Saturday, including fielding a new five-at-the-back formation that Saints had hardly had time to train on.

Che Adams equalised right after half-time to peg back Kai Havertz’s header, but despite several good chances and a late rally that almost saw Mohammed Salisu or Lyanco become heroes, Saints couldn’t find a winner – although Fraser Forster was not left quiet in the visitors' goal, either.

“We have done everything what we could today,” the Austrian said, speaking to BBC Radio Solent and club media after the clash.

“It was a fantastic game for everyone to watch here in the stadium today, it was a thriller, a big cup fight, we wanted to give them a tough evening and we did I think.

“It’s a pity that we couldn’t in the end take the win but I am very proud, this is what I can say today about my team, everyone did a fantastic job.”

He continued: “This is what we want to do, we want to have a game where we are active, where we show our supporters that we are brave. Very often you get the reward for it, today we didn’t.

“Fantastic ball wins in their half, we could sometimes have played even better but against such a top team it’s not easy to create chances, we had a few ones, good ones, yes it’s a pity but as I said I’m very proud of my team.”

Saints looked to be rocked after early pressure almost saw Chelsea go ahead twice through midfielder Saul and Havertz, but after regrouping and standing firm they were able to grow into the game.

And they would have gone into halftime but for a late notch courtesy of a set-piece, Havertz heading home Hakim Ziyech's corner.

“They are strong here,” Hasenhuttl insists, "they have a lot of height from the players, the second half we defended a little better but they still had us, Fraser stopped it.

“It was a little bit too easy the first goal, but it’s always hard to defend against them in the air, we never gave up, we are believing in what we are doing, we have been so aggressive and not an easy evening I think.”