Ross Barkley said he felt more like himself at Southampton after scoring the only goal in Aston Villa’s 1-0 victory.
The Chelsea loanee struck for the first time since October having struggled with injuries, including a lengthy spell on the sidelines between November and January.
Barkley told the club website: “Nice to get back on the scoresheet, I felt more like myself today.
“I played more match minutes than I have on the training ground so I’m feeling better about myself today and going forward into the rest of the season.
“The more minutes on the pitch, the more minutes on the training pitch, I feel better but I’m back feeling more like myself.”
Villa went into the game with just one win in their last five games but the result lifted them up to eighth place ahead of Sunday’s matches.
“Great shift from the lads, a win that we needed today,” Barkley added.
“It’s never easy playing against Southampton, they’re a great side and have performed really well this season.
“We saw (that) earlier on this season when we came up against them but as I say much improved from midweek from the lads, a goal and a clean sheet.”
Southampton had two significant VAR decisions go against them including a 10th-minute penalty shout for handball when Matty Cash blocked Stuart Armstrong’s strike.
Saints manager Ralph Hasenhuttl disagreed with the decision but said that his biggest concern was the three injuries his side sustained during the game.
“I do my job and I try to concentrate on the (right) things, but we have to do better and especially in having less injuries like we have at the moment because this is what worries me the most to be honest,” Hasenhuttl admitted.
“In football it is not always fair and today I think it wasn’t.”
Theo Walcott, Oriol Romeu and Ibrahima Diallo were all forced off from the field, to add to Southampton’s already lengthy injury list.
“No (they are) not okay, we must have a look to see if there is something,” Hasenhuttl added.
“Theo is something pretty serious, Ibrahima maybe also and Ori (Romeu) we don’t know.”