Puel pleased with Saints' team spirit amid injury crisis

Britain Soccer Football - Southampton v Crystal Palace - Premier League - St Mary's Stadium - 5/4/17 Southampton manager Claude Puel Reuters / Peter Nicholls Livepic

(Reuters) - Southampton manager Claude Puel was pleased by the way his team responded to the loss of several key players by beating Crystal Palace 3-1 on Wednesday, but still has an extensive injury list ahead of Saturday's Premier League trip to West Bromwich Albion.

Southampton are up to ninth in the table, seven points behind eighth-placed West Brom, having played two games fewer.

"I was happy yesterday because the team kept a good spirit, kept going and continued the good work and good play," Puel told reporters on Thursday. "In the difficulties, they gave a good answer. It will be the same against West Bromwich."

Midfielder Steve Davis picked up an ankle injury against Palace and joins striker Manolo Gabbiadini, midfielder Sofiane Boufal and defender Ryan Bertrand on the list of players who face late fitness tests ahead of Saturday.

Midfielder Oriol Romeu is suspended, while defenders Matt Targett and Virgil van Dijk, goalkeeper Alex McCarthy and striker Charlie Austin are all ruled out.

"We will see with the training session with Gabbiadini, Bertrand, Davis, Boufal – all these players I don't know for the moment," Puel said. "Romeu is suspended and we will see with Davis if he can play with his ankle injury yesterday.

"It's difficult to prepare this game, but the result against Palace can give us a good confidence."

Southampton have not won at the Hawthorns since 2013, but victory would help them consolidate their position in the top half of the table - and raise Puel's hopes that his team can mount a late charge for the European places.

(Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru; editing by Mark Heinrich)

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