Tuesday 18 September 2018

Hat-trick hero Mane full of praise for Saints' Long

Southampton's Shane Long celebrates scoring their fifth goal
Southampton's Shane Long celebrates scoring their fifth goal

Sadio Mane's delight was as clear as it was understandable after setting Southampton on course for a memorable victory with the fastest ever Premier League hat-trick.

Saints' impressive season had looked to be petering out, only for it to set alight as they ran amok against FA Cup finalists Aston Villa at St Mary's.

Shane Long's brace and a Graziano Pelle volley helped Ronald Koeman's side to a wonderful 6-1 win, although Mane's quick-fire treble was the main talking point.

The Senegal international went from opening the scoring to completing his hat-trick in two minutes and 56 seconds - the quickest in Premier League history, beating the record of four minutes and 33 seconds set by Liverpool's Robbie Fowler in 1994.

"I'm happy," Mane said. "If you see the last few weeks, it has not been easy, but you have to accept it - that's football. "We just tried to give our best in training to work hard, and finally we've got the rewards.

Mane's hat-trick was the catalyst for a timely win for Southampton in the race for European qualification.

It saw Saints move on to a best ever Premier League points tally of 60 and Mane was quick to praise fellow star man Long.

The Ireland international provided two assists and his second goal was a late contender for goal of the season, having beaten Shay Given with a curling 40-yard strike.

"Thank you to him because he did a good job with a great performance," Mane said. "I'm happy for him. His second was a nice goal, unbelievable - and he always works hard in training."


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