Ralph Hasenhuttl has praised Chelsea despite Southampton losing 4-3 on penalties to exit the Carabao Cup at the fourth round stage.
Southampton came to the capital having already lost to Thomas Tuchel's side earlier this month in the Premier League, and went behind one minute before half-time. Kai Havertz met Hakim Ziyech's corner and headed past Fraser Forster to give the hosts the lead.
Hasenhuttl made nine changes to his side that drew to Burnley on the weekend, and they struck level in the 47th minute. Che Adams took advantage of Kepa Arrizabalaga's spill to tap into an empty yet from yards out.
But as the game went to penalties, it was Chelsea who came out on top. Reece James put away the final penalty to send Tuchel's men into the quarter-finals.
Southampton applied heavy pressure late on as they searched for a winner to shock the home faithful, but the Blues defence along with Kepa Arrizabalaga remained resilient and resolute to ensure they couldn't grab a last-gasp goal.
Hasenhuttl was full of praise for the cup tie, and offered his verdict on the European champions.
Speaking after the game, Hasenhuttl admitted: "It was a fantastic, intense game, up and down all the time. We tried to be brave, but didn't get the reward. But Chelsea were also good and had chances."
The Southampton boss was also full of praise for Kepa Arrizabalaga after he made several saves to ensure the game went to penalties.
He added: "We played against a fantastic goalkeeper. Kepa had two good saves and then he made the decisive saves in the penalty shootout."
More Chelsea Coverage
- Report: Chelsea in talks with Cesar Azpilicueta over new contract
- PSG defender Marquinhos denies Chelsea transfer rumours
- Report: Andreas Christensen set for further talks with Chelsea regarding new contract after feeling 'undervalued'