A 1-0 success was secured by Rickie Lambert’s first half penalty at the Holte End, and although the hosts threw everything at his side, Adkins saw his chargers rise to the challenge to keep a clean sheet and make it four matches undefeated in the Barclays Premier League.
“It was a good three points,” the manager reflected post match.
“We kept a clean sheet which was pleasing and I thought we could have been out of sight in the first half.
“In the second half we have to give credit to Aston Villa because they came at us very strong, but we weathered the storm very well.
“We’re improving all the time. We knew it was going to be tough, but we showed great character and got off to a good start with a lot of sustained pressure, and in the second half we have had to weather the storm and show a lot of character to play on the counter attack.”
Lambert’s 34th minute spot kick arrived on the back of a foul on Jay Rodriguez inside the area, and despite protests from the hosts against the decision, Adkins says even if it’s proved not to be a penalty, his players reacted well to the match official’s decision.
“The referee has had some interesting decisions to make across the course of the game,” he highlighted, “but great credit to the players because we have come away from home in front of 3,000 of our own supporters and picked up three points against a team who are close to us in the division.
“I think we could have had seven or eight penalties this year, so they say it evens itself out over the course of the season. I have just looked at it, I don't know which one he has given it for because I think he has talked of giving it for the first challenge, which is not.
“The second one is obviously with Jay Rodriguez and for me there is no contact of the player, just as well he moved his foot out of the way, because there probably would have been, but the referee has got a decision to make. He has given it, and Rickie Lambert put it away fantastically well.”
The success lifts Saints up to 15th in the Barclays Premier League table, above Aston Villa, and Adkins pointed to the consistency of his team which also battled to its first away clean sheet of the campaign.
“We have got to have belief,” he said. “I think we have shown a growing maturity about ourselves throughout the course of the season, I think it was a challenging start for everybody, but that is eleven games now and only two defeats.”
The only sour note saw defender Luke Shaw stretchered off late on after being on the receiving end of a hefty challenge inside the last ten minutes of play, and the manager will give the full back time to recover before he thinks about Wednesday’s trip to Chelsea.
“He is a massive talent for us and you could see that today on a number of occasions - what an exciting talent we have got here at Southampton.
“It's a nasty gashed knee that he has got at this moment in time, so he will be assessed because he has got scars all over his legs and a particularly nasty one on his knee.”