Saints captain Adam Lallana says the club's players have discovered greater belief in themselves following their recent upturn in form.
At times this campaign Nigel Adkins’ men have looked like a side struggling for confidence and lacking faith in their own ability.
That was perhaps unsurprising, given the struggles they endured in the opening weeks.
However, they have been transformed in the last two weeks, with yesterday’s resounding victory over Newcastle earning them back-toback wins for the first time in the Premier League this term and extending their unbeaten run to three matches.
Crucially, the result also lifted them out of the relegation zone.
“I feel the lads are believing a lot more, and the confidence is showing,” declared Lallana, who scored the opening goal – the 49th strike of his Saints career.
The skipper has now challenged the team to build on that feeling when they host Norwich on Wednesday.
“It’s back-to-back wins now and we want to make it a third on Wednesday night,” said Lallana.
“You pick up back-to-back wins, or get a few good results, and you can find yourself four or five places up the league, and that’s where we want to go.
“We’ve got a great chance Wednesday night to do that.
“We’ve got a big chance to try and pull a bit further away from the drop zone, and we want to take that chance.”
Lallana said that Saints’ performance against Newcastle was the club’s best of the season, and admitted the only disappointment was that the scoreline was not more lopsided.
“It would have been nice to get a couple more goals,” he said. “We’ve hit the woodwork three or four times and Jay (Rodriguez) has had a goal disallowed. But we kept a clean sheet and it was an all-round great display.”
The 24-year-old hailed the performance of his fellow goalscorer and “class act” Gaston Ramirez,
who also set up Lallana’s opener.
“He had a bad injury, which he was out for four weeks,” said Lallana. “He came back and maybe he was a little bit rusty, but we all know what ability the lad has, and it’s a pleasure to play with him and train with him and hopefully we can all learn from him. He’s started to gel really well.”
The last two games have been notable for some fine attacking play from the front four of Lallana, Ramirez, Jason Puncheon and Rickie Lambert.
Lallana believes the quartet are becoming increasingly dangerous as their understanding develops.
“We’re starting to find our feet and just learn off each other and play well, and we’re creating chances, which is what we want to achieve.”