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Fonte: New boys have made me up my game
For Jose Fonte Saints’ lavish summer spending has been a cause for celebration rather than concern.
The Portuguese centre half is one of the players that was with the club in League One and has helped them into the top flight.
The £8.5m signing of Dejan Lovren put Fonte’s place in the team under threat, but he has responded magnificently to claim a place alongside the Croatian international at the heart of the Saints backline.
“Three signings costing 30-something million pounds,” smiled Fonte. “Great, quality players.
“For us players that have made the transition from League One, it is good for us because they make us work harder, make us improve as players, as a team.
“It is a pleasure to be part of this club, to share a dressing room with those players.
“We have a great team spirit, the club is fantastic with the resources we have. The training ground is being built.
“Everything is in place for us to be successful and we need to do the job on the pitch.”
Fonte bagged a late equaliser to earn his team a point against Sunderland at the weekend and might well get a rest tonight as the team start their Capital One Cup campaign at Championships strugglers Barnsley.
Despite an emphasis on the league Fonte would be happy to try and revive some happy memories of Oakwell.
“Last time we were there we won 1-0, a good memory,” he said “I know it is a hard, hard ground. I played there many times. I know it is going to be hard but we need to go there with the mentality of winning because we want to have a go in the cups as well.
“We want to win every game we are involved in because we have the team for that.
“We have 23, 24 excellent players so the manager will pick a strong team and we will go there to win.”
Fonte dropped down from the Championship to join Saints in 2010 and is delighted that his decision has proved justified.
“This was 100 per cent what I was promised,” he admitted.
“I stepped down from the Championship, where I had offers from other clubs and there were rumours of something else.
“When I came here, it was always with the thought of playing in the Premier League.
“The chairman had a vision, had the resources and the ambition and it was an easy decision for me to come here.
“I am just pleased that I managed to step my game up a little bit. I feel comfortable now and I am just happy to be part of this club, this team and I hope we can keep moving forward.
“This has been a great story and it is not over. We need to keep going higher and higher and that is what the manager and chairman are looking for.
“I am pleased to be part of this group and I hope we can keep moving forward.”
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