Southampton boss Claude Puel hailed Chelsea stars Diego Costa and Eden Hazard after the Blues thrashed his side 4-2 at the Stamford Bridge.
Hazard scored his 15th league goal of the season, but the Saints were back on level after ex-Chelsea star Oriol Romeu scored an equalizer.
Gary Cahill scored in stoppage time in the first-half to restore Chelsea’s lead.
In the second-half it was Costa magic that proved too much for Southampton as the Blues continued their march towards the Premier League title.
Another ex-Chelsea star Ryan Bertrand scored a late brace, leaving Puel impressed with his side, but he praised the Blues world-class talent.
“It was a better performance than against Manchester City [a 3-0 defeat in Southampton’s previous match],” he told a post-match news conference.
“It’s a shame in the end because we had a good game with quality, against a great, good opponent.”
“But we conceded the goals in bad moments, after five minutes, just before half-time, just after half-time. It’s a shame, it’s a shame.”
“We played against great players. Eden Hazard and Diego Costa played well and they were the difference.”
It was Puel who gave Eden Hazard his breakthrough as a 16-year-old at Lille and he spoke about being at the receiving end of his former player.
“I’m very angry with him, of course,” he joked as Chelsea went seven points clear of Tottenham at the top of the league.
“But he’s a fantastic player. I’m happy for him. It was the same at the beginning, with the same qualities, the same ability to give assists and make penetration, with maturity and quality.”
“He’s having a fantastic career. Good for him.”