Halftime talk of Russell Martin fired up Southampton, leading to a 3-0 FA Cup win over Watford and a fifth-round clash with Liverpool.
Before Sekou Mara scored two well-hit goals and Che Adams secured their 24th consecutive unbeaten game, Southampton had a dismal performance in the first half.
Russell Martin said: “I wasn’t happy with the first half and told the players that.
“It is the first time in some time I have done that. My throat was a little bit sore.
Russell Martin added: “The team is built on being really brave with the ball but really aggressive without and we lacked aggression.
“We were just a bit too nice, we’ve been horrible to play against for a while but we weren’t in the first half.
“At half-time it was about mentality and energy. Second half we were relentless and could have scored one or two more.”
Thus, In the 52nd minute, Adams passed to Mara, who skillfully deceived Daniel Bachmann and slotted the ball into the near post, kickstarting Southampton’s momentum.
Six minutes later, Mara netted his fifth goal of the season with a powerful strike into the near post, this time from outside the box, sealing a counter-attack.
Adams then calmly redirected Joe Rothwell’s superb free-kick from the left flank past substitute Ben Hamer. Southampton had opportunities to widen the lead, with Samuel Edozie and Sam Amo-Ameyaw both hitting the post.