Patrick Bamford is hoping to be a key man in a Middlesbrough promotion challenge next season.
The striker won the Championship player of the year award two years ago when on loan with Boro.
Since then, though, things have gone awry for the player.
Loans to Crystal Palace, Norwich and Burnley were followed by a permanent exit from Chelsea and a return to Boro in January, with his goal against Saints his first in 760 days.
“I think it is only my third start in the Prem,” he said.
“It has been frustrating but I just stuck with it and I knew my chance would come.
“I knew when it came I had to take it and it was a shame not to win or draw, but it was nice for me personally to get the goal.
“Obviously when I signed for Middlesbrough I was hoping that we would stay up and that I’d be a big player for them in the Premier League.
“But that’s not how it has turned out and obviously it’s my job now and the rest of the team’s job to fire us straight back up.
“It is not as easy as everyone says and the Championship is a struggle and a real grind sometimes, so we’ll try to do that and see where we go.”
Bamford’s consolation goal against Southampton brought some much-needed cheer on an afternoon of discontent on Teesside on Saturday.
“It’s hard )to hear fans’ criticis) but you understand in a way as well because obviously Middlesbrough is such a massive club and it is obviously not nice for anyone that we’re getting relegated,” he said.
“The fans are entitled to voice their opinion. It is obviously hard.
“I’ve been a fan once upon a time when I was young at Nottingham Forest and you get frustrated when you’re watching and things aren’t going the way you want them to.
“We tried to put on a show for the fans and obviously it didn’t turn out that way, but we know they’ll always be with us.”