Match ends, Aston Villa 1, Southampton 3.
Ralph Hasenhuttl says his Southampton side will get a "lift mentally" after climbing out of the Premier League's bottom three with a convincing win at Aston Villa.
The result sees the Saints move up a place to 17th, leapfrogging Villa who drop to 18th after a fourth consecutive defeat.
"It's not June, it's December but it gives us a lift mentally to see we can win," Hasenhuttl said.
"We know it's a tough race. This win gives us a lift not only out of the relegation zone but also mentally and is exactly what we need."
Southampton arrived at Villa Park having been in the bottom three in seven of the last eight weeks but deserved their victory after controlling the game from start to finish.
Hasenhuttl's team were assisted by some shambolic defending from Villa and Danny Ings' two-goal contribution, as they registered their biggest win since their 3-1 victory over Wolves in April.
Ings opened the scoring, tapping in from close range after Shane Long's initial effort was saved by Villa keeper Tom Heaton.
And Long could have added a second before Jack Stephens met James Ward-Prowse's corner to double Saints' lead with a towering header into the bottom right corner.
Ings punished Marvelous Nakamba's loose control to add Southampton's third after the break.
And while Jack Grealish's superb effort flew into the top right corner for the hosts to reduce the arrears it was not enough to prevent Saints from claiming only their fifth win of the season.
Villa plot their own downfall
If Villa manager Dean Smith had hoped that their Carabao Cup win over Liverpool's youthful side on Tuesday would raise morale, there was little in this performance which will have encouraged him.
Villa's struggles this term have been underpinned by two main problems, failing to capitalise on winning positions and on occasions delivering abject displays where they have been well beaten.
This was the latter.
While they conceded late goals in narrow defeats by Liverpool and Chelsea and possibly merited more than the point they collected at Manchester United, from the moment Ings put Southampton ahead, Villa - who had already lost John McGinn to an injury - looked shorn of confidence.
And all three goals were easily avoidable.
Bjorn Engels was caught out for the first with Nathan Redmond's clipped ball over the top allowing Long to outstrip him for pace.
Stephens was allowed to run towards the near post unchecked for the second and Nakamba's poor control compounded a defensive horror show for the hosts.
"Whenever we concede a goal it feels like the end of the world at the moment," Smith said.
"The manner we conceded the goals is very poor. We weren't good enough today to win the game."
Worryingly for Villa supporters, Villa were equally inept as an attacking force with three of their five shots on target coming from the 74th minute onwards, when they were already 3-0 down.
Having identified the importance of this fixture prior to kick-off, Smith and his team must now regroup with games against Norwich and Watford who sit below them in the table.
Super Ings steals the show
Villa's lack of potency was in sharp contrast to Southampton, who with Ings and Long, punctured the hosts' defence with regularity, particularly in a devastating first period.
While Long is still searching for his first goal since April, the Republic of Ireland forward's pace caused havoc in a charitable Villa defence until he was replaced in the 82nd minute.
By that stage Long could have scored at least three goals, heading over Ryan Bertrand's fizzing cross early on and twice seeing Heaton deny him, albeit with Ings profiting, for Saints' first goal.
Ings' performance was one of a man re-establishing his credentials as an effective Premier League forward after seeing his mid-20s disrupted by injuries.
Now 27, Ings registered his seventh goal in seven games, with his first down to having the pace to position himself in the correct place, and his second, showing his alertness and ability to finish from an acute angle.
"Danny is fantastic at the moment, he's absolutely outrageous at the moment and I'm very happy for him," said Hassenhuttl.
Those goals also brought up a notable landmark, as he became the first Saints player to score 10 goals or more in a Premier League season before Christmas, emulating Matt Le Tissier in 1994-95 and James Beattie in 2002-03.
Man of the match - Danny Ings (Southampton)
Villa's aerial weakness - the stats
- Southampton scored three goals in a Premier League away game for the first time in 364 days, since winning 3-1 at Huddersfield on 22 December 2018.
- Aston Villa have conceded as many goals in their last two home Premier League games as they had in their first seven at Villa Park this season (7).
- Each of Southampton's last 16 Premier League goals have been scored by English players - excluding own goals, it's the longest such run in the competition since Queens Park Rangers between March 1996-September 2011 (17 goals).
- Aston Villa have conceded more headed goals (9) and more goals from corners (8) than any other side in the Premier League this season, with Jack Stephens' goal for Southampton today being a header from a corner.
- Southampton's Danny Ings has scored 11 Premier League goals this season, his joint-most in a single campaign in the competition (level with 2014-15).
- No Southampton player has scored more Premier League goals before Christmas in a season than the 11 Ings has netted this term (level with James Beattie in 2002-03).
- James Ward-Prowse has been involved in 42 Premier League goals for Southampton (21 goals, 21 assists) - more than any other current player at the club.
- Aston Villa's Jack Grealish has scored three goals in his last five Premier League games - as many as he had in his previous 45 in the competition.
Aston Villa are back in action in the Premier League when they host Norwich on Boxing Day (15:00 GMT), while Southampton travel to Chelsea on the same day (15:00).
- 7McGinnSubstituted forNakambaat 8'minutes
- 6Douglas Luiz
- 14HourihaneSubstituted forKodjiaat 56'minutesBooked at 87mins
- 21El GhaziBooked at 67minsSubstituted forTrézéguetat 68'minutes
- 27El Mohamady
- 2Cédric Soares
- 17S ArmstrongSubstituted forRomeuat 76'minutes
- 16Ward-ProwseBooked at 44mins
- 7LongSubstituted forObafemiat 82'minutes
- 9IngsSubstituted forAdamsat 87'minutes
- Craig Pawson
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Aston Villa 1, Southampton 3.
Attempt saved. Jack Grealish (Aston Villa) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Jonathan Kodjia.
Attempt blocked. Trézéguet (Aston Villa) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked.
Offside, Southampton. Alex McCarthy tries a through ball, but Che Adams is caught offside.
Offside, Aston Villa. Jack Grealish tries a through ball, but Kortney Hause is caught offside.
Corner, Aston Villa. Conceded by Alex McCarthy.
Attempt saved. Jack Grealish (Aston Villa) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top right corner. Assisted by Douglas Luiz.
Attempt saved. Pierre-Emile Højbjerg (Southampton) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Nathan Redmond.
Jonathan Kodjia (Aston Villa) is shown the yellow card.
Foul by Jonathan Kodjia (Aston Villa).
Jan Bednarek (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Trézéguet (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Nathan Redmond (Southampton).
Substitution, Southampton. Che Adams replaces Danny Ings.
Attempt missed. Douglas Luiz (Aston Villa) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Matt Targett.
Offside, Aston Villa. Frederic Guilbert tries a through ball, but Wesley is caught offside.
Attempt missed. Pierre-Emile Højbjerg (Southampton) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high following a fast break.
Attempt saved. Danny Ings (Southampton) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Pierre-Emile Højbjerg.
Attempt blocked. Douglas Luiz (Aston Villa) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Jack Grealish.