Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa priased Patrick Bamford as the striker netted his 16th league goal of the season to help his side to victory over Southampton.
The game looked to be heading for a draw until Bamford poked the ball through the legs of Saints goalkeeper Alex McCarthy to give his side a 73rd-minute lead.
The striker had only one top-flight goal to his name before this season, despite spells at Crystal Palace, Norwich, Burnley and Middlesbrough, with his solitary strike coming for the latter against Southampton in May 2017.
Tuesday’s goal at St Mary’s was Bamford’s 16th of the season and does no harm to his chances of securing a place in Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the Euros.
Substitute Tyler Roberts then sealed victory in added time when he tapped the ball into the back of the net.
“Patrick had a very generous performance with a lot of effort and he’s had a season in which he’s shone and I’m sure he’ll be very positive about the campaign he’s had be what may,” Bielsa said.
“Everything that he’s achieved this season is because of the dedication and effort that he’s put in to show off his abilities.”
🎙️ Patrick: “For the club as a whole, everyone has suffered, so this one is for them. They deserve it.” pic.twitter.com/LCOg4Ll0zU
— Leeds United (@LUFC) May 18, 2021
Victory on the south coast guarantees a top-10 finish for Leeds following last season’s promotion as they moved above Arsenal and Everton – who both play on Wednesday – and into eighth place.
On Roberts’ first Premier League goal, the Bielsa added: “I was happy that he scored because he had played many games and hadn’t managed to do it and the team in the second half looked a lot more like the team that it is.”
For the first time since December 19 Southampton fans were able to watch their side play in person and around 8,000 were in attendance, with manager Ralph Hasenhuttl praising their impact.
“Absolutely amazing for me and when I was coming out at the beginning of the game it was an impressive view to see them sitting there,” the Saints boss said.
“It looked very full although there were only 8,000, but unbelievable. A massive moment for everyone.
“We really tried to give them a win today because they have been fantastic and supported us until the end.
“We did forget how good it felt to have them back and how good it feels to see them and it definitely gives us something we can look forward to in the next season now going into the break.”
Southampton had scored six goals in their previous two home games but were unable to find the same form against Leeds.
“Tough, an expected tough game with I think a very good first half from us but without a final goal which was absolutely possible I think,” Hasenhuttl added.
“We cannot play better than we did in the first half to be honest, it was against a physically so strong team only dominating but the second half, we can say that often but it is normal that the opponent then has more chances.
“I didn’t have the feeling that we gave a lot of chances away in the second half but we can see that they had another gear that we didn’t have today and I think this was different today, when they had a good second half they scored.”