Southampton forward Sadio Mane put in an excellent shift as his side claimed a well-deserved 1-0 win over struggling Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.
Ronald Koeman would have prepared his side for a direct Sunderland team, with boss Sam Allardyce imploring his side to remain compact out of possession and hurt the opposition from set-plays.
For long spells it looked like the Saints were to end up frustrated, yet they were awarded a second-half penalty which the energetic Dusan Tadic duly dispatched with aplomb.
While the Serbian ace will dominate the headlines on the south coast for his match-winning goal, it was teammate Sadio Mane who was the star performer at the Stadium of Light.
|Shots||Key Passes||Take-ons||Touches||Accurate Passes||Ball Recoveries||Def Duels Won||Mins Played|
As per the table provided by Opta Stats, the former Salzburg favourite was everywhere and played a major role in his team’s victory with a number of key contributions.
Mane posted two key passes, three shots, three successful take-ons, 64 touches and 30 accurate passes as he was heavily involved from an attacking point of view.
Yet, what will please Koeman and the travelling Saints supporters most was his willingness to track back and put in a defensive shift when necessary, making six ball recoveries and winning 10 defensive duels.
The Senegal international is building up a decent reputation as one of the most talented attacking players in the league, a factor which will certainly prompt the big clubs to monitor his progress.