Ruben Selles has vowed Southampton will “fight to the last point” after his side slipped closest to Premier League relegation following a damaging 1-0 defeat to Bournemouth.
Marcus Tavernier’s second-half winner at St Mary’s left the bottom of the division club six points from safety with five games to go.
The Beleaguered Saints thought they had earned a dramatic equaliser, but Che Adams’ 89th-minute effort was disallowed for offside after VAR intervention.
A painful defeat to their south coast rivals inflicted a club-record 11th home defeat of the season on Southampton, with lingering hopes of survival fading quickly.
“We will try to put in a performance in every game to try and win, and we will do it until the end,” said Selles.
“I know there are only five games left. But we are professionals and will fight to the last point.
“I know it’s tough now, I know the table looks tough, but we’ll try.”
Southampton lacked attacking drive and urgency for much of a miserable evening played in damp conditions.
Aside from Adams’s disallowed shot, the home side rarely threatened an equalizer after Tavernier’s 50th-minute deflected shot.
“It’s a disappointing night, we came with the intention of putting in a good performance and obviously we didn’t,” said Selles.
“Some of the things that can go against us, have gone against us.
“Even the offside goal, it’s a couple of centimeters but it’s offside. It was a difficult night.”
Southampton have lost second-half captain James Ward-Prowse to a sore throat and he will be evaluated ahead of Sunday’s visit against Newcastle.
Bournemouth have moved to 36 points – seven clear of the drop zone – after a significant win over their closest neighbours.
Cherries boss Gary O’Neil initially feared replacement Adams was in the game but felt his side should be given a favorable VAR call.
O’Neil insists Bournemouth still have work to do to ensure safety following a third consecutive away win.
“It’s a big win for us, obviously,” he said. “The performance was enjoyable. I thought we were by far the better team today.
“The boys are recovering for Sunday (at home against Leeds), there’s no partying, there’s no point counting. I can easily see 36 points going down this year. We will not rest.”
Speaking about the disallowed goal, he said: “We had to have one go our way. We had some pitches against us.
“There was some whooping on the bench when he was ruled out. I didn’t think that would happen.
“We had some footage ahead of us that wasn’t clear. It’s a horrible moment as a manager when you’re sitting there waiting for someone to decide.
“But the players didn’t deserve to suffer this today. I’m so glad we had a VAR check for the first time this season I think.”
Match winner Tavernier limped off with 12 minutes to go with a hamstring problem.
“He seems to think it’s not too serious,” O’Neil said. “Let’s hope it was just a touch of cramp.”