Mauricio Pellegrino has called on his team to maintain their composure ahead of this week’s double-header with Brighton and West Brom.
The Southampton boss is under no illusions as to the importance of Wednesday night’s return to Premier League action but is keen to see his side play with “patience and calm” for the visit of the Seagulls.
While a positive result could go a long way to moving Saints clear of the relegation zone, another improved performance remains the priority for Pellegrino.
“There are two important matches this week but we have to think about the first one,” he said. “Even if we beat Brighton, there will still be lots to improve on in the future, we have to keep going and keep winning.
“Yes, it’s a big match but there will be others. We don’t need just these three points, we need to be patient and consistent. We are on the right path and moving forwards."
Key to a result in midweek will be a further improvement on recent showings against Tottenham and Watford and both results have had a visible effect on the Saints dressing room.
“When we are at home, the opponent has to feel that we want to win. We have to put them under pressure and show them quickly that we can take control of the game.
“The feeling now in the dressing room now is that we are growing, we’ve been working very hard in a difficult situation but the spirit and the character of the players has taken a step forwards.
“In defence and attack, on the pitch, off the pitch, our commitment and focus on every detail in training; hopefully this can be the base for the future.”
October’s meeting at the Amex Stadium ended in a stalemate after Glenn Murray’s headed equaliser cancelled out Steven Davis’ early strike and Pellegrino is expecting another tightly contested affair this time around at St Mary's.
“Brighton are a good team; they have been working with the same manager for a long time and so have a very good understanding all over the field. This is the Premier League, every single game is tough.”