Chelsea striker Timo Werner admitted that the red card issued to James Ward-Prowse was key to breaking down Southampton's stubborn defence at Stamford Bridge.
The Blues ran out 3-1 winners in the end, but the game was conceivably heading for a draw before Ward-Prowse was sent off for serious foul play with 15 minutes to go. Southampton's captain had earlier levelled the scores after Trevoh Chalobah's opening goal.
Having struggled to create chances, Chelsea soon found they had more space to operate in because of their numerical advantage - and they capitalised with six minutes to go when Werner slid home at the far post after a brilliant ball across goal from Cesar Azpilicueta.
Ben Chilwell added gloss to the scoreline in the final minute, but Werner admitted that Chelsea were a little lucky to see Southampton reduced to 10-men - not because Ward-Prowse's challenge didn't warrant a red card, but because chances had been at a premium before his dismissal.
"We were a bit lucky they conceded the red card. It opened up a lot of space for us," Werner told Chelsea's official website. "They made it very hard to create chances, but overall we were the better team."
Reacting to his goal, Werner added: "I was very happy to score and help the team.
"In the first half it was the story of my whole Chelsea career in one game a little bit! It was obviously not so clear because it took the referee a while to make his decision. Maybe 50/50. We have to accept it, I had to accept it, and in the end I was happy I could score again and we won the game.
"It was a very important win after losing the last two. It was a very tough game for us because Southampton did very well.
Werner also spoke of the difficulties of being in and out of the Chelsea team, noting his goal was not only important for his confidence but also for his teammates - after recent defeats against Manchester City and Juventus.
"The last games were not so easy for me because I didn’t start so regularly," Werner continued. "So it was not only important for me, it was important for the whole team to come back after two defeats before the national break, where we won’t see each other for a week and a half.
"It was important for everybody to go to the national break with a good feeling. At big clubs you always feel pressure, but in the end you must have fun, and you saw we wanted to have fun, play football and win the game. That mentality makes us so strong."
Source : 90min