SHEFFIELD, England (Reuters) - Southampton claimed their first Premier League victory in 10 games as skipper James Ward-Prowse's first-half penalty and a thunderbolt from Che Adams secured a 2-0 win over Sheffield United at Bramall Lane on Saturday.
Southampton, league leaders in November, have been dragged into the bottom half of the table due to poor form and injuries, but Ralph Hasenhuettl's 14th-placed side showed their battling qualities in his 100th game in charge.
"It's a huge relief," Ward-Prowse said.
"We all admit it's been a tough run but getting that first win after a while is great... When you go through a spell like we did, everybody starts to talk, but there's belief in the manager and we executed our plan perfectly."
Southampton went ahead in the 32nd minute through midfielder Ward-Prowse's penalty after Ethan Ampadu mistimed his challenge on Nathan Tella, with the Saints midfielder bearing down on goal after latching on to a long ball from Ibrahima Diallo.
Substitute Adams, who came on for the injured Danny Ings in the first half, doubled Southampton's lead with a right-footed rocket from distance against his former club as the bottom-placed hosts failed to clear their lines.
"It's been a long time since my last goal so I'm proud to get a goal for the boys," Adams, whose last league goal was against Sheffield United in December, told Sky Sports.
Sheffield had earlier responded strongly and could have made it 1-1 towards the end of the first half but striker David McGoldrick's chipped effort in a one-on-one situation with Fraser Forster was saved by the goalkeeper.
Southampton continued to threaten throughout the second half and could have added to their tally, but Tella's shot was pushed wide by Aaron Ramsdale while Takumi Minamino fired his effort wide with only the goalkeeper to beat shortly after.
"The team did what we had to do against a side fighting for everything. We could have scored more. That's the only thing I could criticise," Hasenhuettl said.
"There are still a lot of games to go. We've been much higher in the table then we had this negative run. It's important we can turn it round now."
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Christian Radnedge)