Nigel Adkins paid tribute to Richard Chaplow after Southampton defeated Middlesbrough 3-0, while Tony Mowbray admitted it was a fair result.
Midfielder Chaplow was at the heart of all Southampton's best moves, making a mockery of the meanest defence in the division.
Middlesbrough went into the match having let in only eight goals all season but they could have let in another five or six as rampant Southampton overran them in the first half.
Brazilian striker Guly scored twice and hit a post in the first half and substitute David Connolly added a third with 10 minutes remaining.
Middlesbrough enjoyed some possession for 20 minutes in the second half but they never looked like threatening Southampton's superiority.
Saints have now won six successive home league matches this season and 16 in total including last season, when they were promoted from League One.
Adkins said: "We got three excellent goals and we could have got a few more against a very good Middlesbrough side.
"At one stage for the third goal we strung together 25 passes before Connolly scored at the 26th.
"Chaplow has been consistently good for us this season. He has unbelievable energy and tenacity. He also gets into goal-scoring positions but his great asset is his flexibility and he is a player with loads of ability.
"I asked him to play wide on the right for this match and he responded with a great performance."
Middlesbrough only came alive towards the end of the match when Southampton goalkeeper Kelvin Davis was pressed into making saves from Marvin Emnes and substitute Alex Nimely.
But manager Mowbray was not fooled by the late revival and admitted his team had been second best on the day.
Mowbray said: "Southampton have won every game they have played at home and you can see why they are top of the table.
"They posed a physical threat up front which we never adequately dealt with.
"It is always disappointing to lose although we worked hard enough and had a little spell when we looked as though we might get a goal back.
"When they scored their third goal the game was finished but up to half-time, when we were two goals behind, we all felt we were still very much in it.
"But this is just one result and we have to bounce back and play well against Doncaster on Tuesday. We have to react in a positive fashion.
"We have to look at this in context as it is a long season and there are many more battles to be won. On the day we were second best and we have to accept it."