Soccer-Hasenhuettl proud of Saints' fight in defeat at Wolverhampton

Soccer Football - Premier League - Wolverhampton Wanderers v Southampton - Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton, Britain - January 15, 2022 Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl acknowledges fans after the match REUTERS/Rebecca Naden

(Reuters) - Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuettl said he was proud of the team's fighting spirit in Saturday's 3-1 Premier League defeat by Wolverhampton Wanderers but added that the south-coast club have room for improvement.

Southampton midfielder James Ward-Prowse scored from a sensational free-kick but his effort went in vain as goals from Adama Traore, Raul Jimenez and Conor Coady handed Hasenhuettl's side their first defeat in five league matches.

Southampton made a bright start at Molineux but were repeatedly denied by Wolves keeper Jose Sa, who made several impressive saves.

"We know it is tough here to score," Hasenhuettl said. "We conceded a second goal, which was a tight offside... We made a few changes, got some fresh legs on the pitch (in the second half). We had all the chances to come back.

"But I must say I am proud of this team today for what we have done. Against this team, to come back after two down and have a chance to equalise is not so easy because we stressed them."

Saturday's defeat meant Wolves completed a league double over Southampton, having beaten them 1-0 at St Mary's Stadium in September this season.

"I think we did it much better than the first game, but not good enough and we have to learn," Hasenhuettl added.

Southampton are 12th in the league on 24 points after 21 matches. They host leaders Manchester City on Jan. 22.

(Reporting by Manasi Pathak in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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