Southampton boss Ronald Koeman was delighted as his side stole a late point in their 1-1 Barclays Premier League draw against Aston Villa at Villa Park.
Villa broke the deadlock just before the half-hour mark as Gabriel Agbonlahor collected Ciaran Clark's long ball forward and beat the advancing Fraser Forster to the ball, sliding it into an empty net to end Southampton's four-match clean-sheet run in the league.
The visitors equalised after 81 minutes as Nathaniel Clyne collected Ryan Bertrand's cross and slotted the ball past Brad Guzan to claim a share of the spoils.
Koeman said "We had a good team to win to tonight but after going 1-0 down, in an attacking way we didn't have the freshness to create the opportunities what we normally have.
"If you score that late (in a) 1-1 (draw) then I think you can be happy with the result at the end, but we missed some freshness and some qualities and it was difficult because at 1-0 - the misunderstanding defensively - it was more difficult.
"It was completely a misunderstanding in defence. But it's football, we're human people and we can make mistakes, but after going 1-0 down it was more difficult."
Koeman's side face a testing month ahead that brings games against Manchester City, Arsenal, Manchester United, Everton and Chelsea.
The Saints also have to play four games in nine days over Christmas including league fixtures on Boxing Day and New Year's Day before the FA Cup third round on the first weekend in January.
He added: "It's a nice week to play and we live game to game and of course, it's three big teams but as I said before the game, every game is a battle, every game is difficult.
"Aston Villa had some key players injured and maybe they were more dangerous, it was difficult and we didn't reach our level. We need that to be competitive against City for Sunday."
It's being reported that Sunderland’s players will look to reimburse the 2,456 supporters who travelled to Southampton to watch them get thrashed 8-0
Sunderland goalkeeper Vito Mannone said he would ask his team-mates to agree to the gesture.
According to The Chronicle Mannone thinks the team owes the fans.
He said: “We should do it because we didn’t put our foot (down), we didn’t work hard."
Ronald Koeman well and truly disproved the manager of the month award as his Southampton side decimated a woeful Sunderland outfit 8-0.
There is a longheld theory that the boss who collects the monthly accolade slips to defeat in the next game but Saints returned to winning ways with their biggest ever Barclays Premier League win as Graziano Pelle scored twice to seal a memorable week on a personal level.
A goal in either half saw Pelle move onto six Barclays Premier League goals for the season and add to his match-winning Italy debut and player of the month award.
The former Feyenoord striker would have been proud of Vergini's own goal, which opened the floodgates as Southampton inflicted a damaging defeat on Gus Poyet's side.
Sunderland had started the game brightly as they looked to build on their maiden league win against Stoke before the international break but Vergini scored a clinical own goal from the edge of his box to set Southampton on their way to a stunning victory.
Pelle then scored with a tap-in with Jack Cork, brought into midfield in place of Victor Wanyama, killing the game off before the break.
Sunderland then shipped four goals in 16 second-half minutes as a another own goal, courtesy of Liam Bridcutt, was added to by Pelle's second and efforts from Dusan Tadic and Wanyama.
Sadio Mane had been rested following international exertions but came on to add the eighth late on, leaving some Sunderland fans in tears.
Saints may boast the player of the month in Italian striker Pelle but they also have the best defence in English football having conceded a measly five league goals this season.
Sunderland's defence is not as watertight and it starting leaking goals after just 11 minutes as Morgan Schneiderlin eased past Wes Brown, with the ball falling to the edge of the Sunderland box, where Argentina international Vergini thrashed the ball into the corner of his own goal with deadly accuracy.
It did not take the hosts long to double their lead as Steve Davis was released down the left and crossed for Pelle to tap home from close range to continue his impressive form.
Shellshocked Sunderland looked like they might peg their hosts back immediately but goalkeeper Fraser Forster was equal to a well-struck Sebastian Larsson free-kick.
Poyet was left angered when his side were denied what appeared to be a clear penalty as Forster cleaned out Steven Fletcher after the Scotland forward had latched onto Lee Cattermole's through ball - but referee Andre Marriner simply signalled for a goal-kick.
The Uruguayan's mood was not helped as Southampton added their third from the very next attack. Tadic crossed from the left and picked out an unmarked Cork, who got enough on his shot to force it past Vito Mannone.
Pelle should have done better with a chance on the stroke of half-time but cut his effort well wide of goal as Saints continued to dominate.
Southampton came close to extending their lead early in the second half as Shane Long squared to Tadic inside the box, but the Serbia winger saw his shot cleared off the line by Patrick van Aanholt.
The fourth goal duly arrived and it once again came courtesy of a Sunderland own goal as Mannone got a strong hand to a low Pelle shot, only for the ball to squirm over the line off half-time substitute Bridcutt.
The misery continued for Poyet and his players as Pelle soon made it five, slotting home first time having been played in by Tadic - although he did balloon a hat-trick opportunity high and wide soon after.
Tadic was soon on the scoresheet himself as he was gifted possession by a poor Mannone clearance and swept the ball in for his first Premier League goal.
Sunderland were in pieces by this stage and Southampton showed no mercy, adding a seventh just seconds later as substitute Wanyama thrashed an effort past the hapless Mannone.
Still it continued and Mane was the next to get in on the act as the Senegal man hit his first Saints goal, with Tadic again supplying the ammunition from the left flank.
There was to be no record-equalling ninth for the hosts but this was a signal of intent from Koeman's side as they look to prove their impressive start is no flash in the pan, with the huge victory taking them third in the table and leaving Sunderland in abject misery.
Southampton FC have put their support behind a campaign, which is helping to raise awareness of a key symptom of bladder or kidney cancer – blood in pee.
Thermochromic posters have been installed in all of the urinals at St. Mary's stadium, ahead of the game against Sunderland on Saturday. When 'used', the heat reactive posters change colour and reveal the campaign message ‘if you notice blood in your pee, even if it’s ‘just the once’ tell your doctor’.
It comes as part of Public Health England's 'Be Clear on Cancer' campaign. More than 9 in 10 people in England survive bladder or kidney cancer for at least a year if diagnosed at the earliest stage.
“It’s a great compliment. It’s a personal prize for the manager, but I have to say thanks to the players it’s always those on the pitch who win games. We had a great month, which was maybe unexpected for a lot of people and maybe that’s had an influence on this prize. Everybody was a little afraid before the season, but we’ve done a great job – all of the coaches and the technical staff, and all of the people at the club. This means a lot, and now we have to take the next step. It’s now October, and September is behind us. We have to look forward and we’d like to celebrate with three points against Sunderland.”
Southampton FC manager Ronald Koeman has won the Premier League manager of the month award.
Koeman steered the Saints to 3rd place after seven matches. In September alone, they won three premier league games and sent Arsenal out of the Capital One Cup.
It's a double swoop for the club with striker Graziano Pelle winning player of the month.
Ronald Koeman told Southampton to "take a picture" of the Barclays Premier League table after Graziano Pelle volleyed "one of the goals of the season" to see off QPR.
Saints boss Koeman heaped praise on Pelle's scissor-kick winner as Saints edged out Harry Redknapp's side 2-1 at St Mary's, conceding his surprise at his side's impressive start to the campaign.
Southampton held on to second place thanks to strikes from Pelle and loan man Ryan Bertrand that secured their fourth straight win.
Koeman admitted Southampton have exceeded his pre-season expectations, shaking off Mauricio Pochettino's exit and a raft of player departures.
"I'm a little bit (surprised) by our start yes, because always you have to wait after a lot of changes in the team," said Koeman.
"But we had a good pre-season, we had some difficult moments in the club, a lot of people, even the press was a little bit afraid, with questions about relegation.
"But we know what our qualities are, and little by little we have shown them.
"I'm satisfied with how we're playing. Now we can watch the table tonight and take a picture.
"Then we start again on Tuesday."
Koeman will now hand his Southampton players two days' rest ahead of next weekend's league clash with Tottenham.
Southampton's players turned down a day off on Wednesday in a bid to seize on the good feeling fostered by Tuesday's Capital One Cup victory at Arsenal.
Pelle's acrobatic volley separated the teams on Saturday, the Italian pouncing just moments after Charlie Austin had levelled with an impressive finish for QPR.
Koeman believes there will be few more spectacular Premier League strikes this term than the improvised winner.
"It was a great finish - it will be one of the goals of the season," he said.
"And still it's more important because it made it 2-1.
"I'm happy about his performance from the start of the season, because he has showed his quality and personality.
"He will always keep the ball for the team.
"And that's important for the team in how we play.
"And if you can score like this, you can't do it better."
Rangers boss Redknapp shook off taunts from Southampton fans on his south coast return, owing to his defection from Saints to Portsmouth in 2005.
The ex-Tottenham boss was impressed by Austin's second league goal of the campaign, but admitted his side must sharpen up further in their bid for top-flight stability.
Brazil star Sandro returned after knee trouble only to depart in the opening exchanges due to a heavy blow to the head.
Redknapp allayed fears about any lasting damage, admitting the medics had to remove the holding midfielder as a precaution.
"It was a great finish, he's proved again he can score at this level and that's important and encouraging," said Redknapp.
"We didn't play too badly at all to be honest, but we can still keep improving and we've got to make that progress.
"We were sorry to lose Sandro so early in the game, after a matter of minutes.
"We kept going, kept working, lots to work on and we can keep going.
"He got a bang on the head and the doctor was worried about it.
"He didn't look too bad at half-time, but obviously the doctors have got to err on the side of caution.
"There have been plenty of new directives on head injuries and we just couldn't take any risks at all."
On-loan defender Ryan Bertrand opened his Saints account to hand the hosts the lead before Charlie Austin blasted home on the turn.
Italian striker Pelle trumped Austin's smart finish with a true showman's goal to secure Saints' fourth win in six Premier League ties this term.
Former Southampton boss Redknapp received the hate-filled welcome he anticipated, after quitting Saints for bitter rivals Portsmouth in 2005.
The ex-Tottenham boss was subjected to vitriolic chanting from home supporters, but would have chuckled to himself when Austin stole the second half equaliser.
The former bricklayer had a fine chance to double his tally, but headed wide, while Nico Kranjcar also hit the woodwork with a fine free-kick.
The ex-Portsmouth midfielder fired a set-piece goal to steal QPR a point against Stoke last weekend, but was just unable to repeat the feat at St Mary's.
Pelle's stunning volley won the day however, the £8million summer recruit notching his fifth Southampton goal.
Southampton's victory kept them second in the table, after Chelsea eased past Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge, to continue new boss Ronald Koeman's fine Premier League start.
Dusan Tadic spent the first half gamely battling to cajole Southampton's staccato attack into something resembling fluency.
Despite his best efforts however the hosts were unable to break the deadlock before the break, even with QPR remaining largely toothless up front.
Morgan Schneiderlin squandered the chance of the half, screwing his low shot well wide after being sent clean through by Sadio Mane.
Serbia striker Tadic wasted a gilt-edged chance himself, unable to connect cleanly enough in the box to provide the power to beat Rob Green.
The relieved Rangers keeper tapped wide at full stretch when Tadic should have buried his point-blank effort.
None of Saints' big men were able to meet Tadic's early whipped free-kick with any accuracy early on and that missed opportunity set a frustrating tone for the opening exchanges.
Pelle fired wide of Green's left post when he could have aimed across goal too, as Saints continued their wasteful half.
Eduardo Vargas and Austin spent precious little time combining with their midfield to offer any tangible threat for Rangers, but Kranjcar and Leroy Fer had to shoulder their share of blame for not bridging the divide.
Matt Phillips blasted high and wide after a botched clearance from Nathaniel Clyne, before Austin chipped wide in first-half stoppage time.
Redknapp's men were fortunate to turn around on level terms, desperately hoping to grow in stature with every chance Saints fluffed.
Just when the visitors thought they could frustrate Southampton into a costly error though, Koeman's men opened the scoring.
Mane's prescient back heel opened the QPR defence, Bertrand raced through the door and blasted the ball under Green to wrestle control for Saints in the 54th minute.
Austin disabused any Saints notions of coasting to victory with a fine finish 12 minutes later, firing home on the spin after controlling Vargas' cross.
Rangers' return to level terms was meant to stun Saints into a state of shock, but instead the hosts struck straight back.
A peripheral figure for much of the afternoon, Pelle forced the tie to turn on his acrobatic finish.
The Italian striker teed himself up before unleashing an unstoppable scissor-kick blast into the top corner to put Saints 2-1 to the good only two minutes after the visitors had levelled.
Steven Davis rattled the woodwork from 20 yards as Saints pressed again, before Austin headed wide in another fine opportunity for QPR.
Kranjcar hit the angle of post and bar for QPR as Redknapp's men ground on in search of a second equaliser.
Tadic struck a post as the match edged into stoppage time, but Saints eased to victory despite failing to add a third goal.
Mixed fortunes for the South's football teams in the Capital One Cup second round. Here are the final scores:
Bournemouth 3 Northampton 0
Millwall 0 Southampton 2
Norwich 3 Crawley 1
Swindon 2 Brighton 4
Scunthorpe 0 Reading 1
West Brom 1 Oxford1 (West Brom wins 7-6 on penalties)
Gillingham 0 Newcastle 1
Bournemouth, Southampton, Brighton and Reading celebrate being through to the next round