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Dejan Lovren eyes top six finish for Southampton FC
The centre-back helped scramble in a late equaliser at Old Trafford on Saturday, to earn the team a 1-1 draw at Manchester United and extend their unbeaten run to five matches. After eight games of the campaign, Saints are sixth in the table and boast the best defensive record in the division. It is enough to give Lovren confidence that the club have a chance of securing their best ever finish in the Premier League.
“It’s hard to tell now where we would be, but I hope the top six,” he said.
“But we have a lot of games to go. We need to improve each game and to take many, many points.”
The point at United means Saints’ long wait for a league win at Old Trafford, which currently stands at 25 years, goes on. However, the draw was a result to savour, and it was one that followed on from the famous 1-0 victory at Liverpool in their last away game.
Lovren explained that Saints’ ambition to compete with the Premier League’s elite clubs, and their belief that they can do it, was one of the reasons he opted to move to St Mary’s.
“I was surprised, and because of that I’m here. I think it’s a good challenge for me and I am very happy that I’m here. You see I’m smiling every day with my new club.”
Lovren was the first of three major signings made by Saints during the summer, joining in an £8.5m deal from French club Lyon.
His arrival has coincided with an incredible upturn in the team’s defensive performances.
In their eight league games so far this season, Saints have kept five clean sheets. No one, not even United’s fearsome strikeforce, has scored more than once against them.
While that impressive resolve has been a combined effort, the influence of Lovren has been an important factor in it. Yet, for all the praise directed towards him, the Croatian international still believes that he, and the team, can improve.
“I think each game we can be better,” he said. “Each game we can improve ourselves more. So can I, I think. I can be much better, I think.
“We have a lot of games before us, but for now it’s a perfect start. Nobody was thinking it would be a start like this.”
Lovren’s centre half partnership with José Fonte has already drawn comparisons with the Michael Svensson and Claus Lundekvam axis, which was the foundation of Saints’ best ever Premier League finish to date, when they were eighth in 2002/03.
The 24-year-old believes that one of the reasons for his own strong start to the season is how easy his teammates have made it for him to settle in.
“Already the first day they accepted me,” he said. “Not just José, but everyone. They accepted me like I am already here ten, five years. We work hard and I think that’s the point of everything. We work hard in the training and we show it in the games.”
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