DEJAN Lovren believes Saints are defending better than any side he has played in – after keeping a fifth successive St Mary’s clean sheet.

Saints last managed four successive league shut-outs at home during the 2010/11 season, their last in League One.

But it is many years since they went 537 minutes without conceding a goal in Premier League and cup football on their own turf.

Not since the third minute of their first home game of the season – when Sunderland’s diminutive Emanuele Giacherrini was allowed a free header – have Saints conceded at St Mary’s.

And they never looked like doing so against Fulham, who were denied a single chance.

Croatia international Lovren said: “To concede just three goals in nine games in this league is very hard so we deserve the respect now from the others.

“But it’s the whole team, not just the four in defence and the goalkeeper.

“It’s each player, we all work hard on the training ground. It’s a pleasure to play every day with these players.”

Former Dinamo Zagreb defender Lovren has thrived under Mauricio Pochettino as much as anyone since his summer move from Lyon.

“He gives us a lot of advice, he’s an intelligent man so we follow his instructions,” he continued. “We keep the line very high, I’ve never played like this before and it’s a level with risk. But we’re doing a good job.

“Our philosophy is to get the ball back very quickly when we lose it. I think you saw that against Fulham, we lost the ball in the first half and they didn't have a chance to do anything. I think it was amazing, this was the best game we've played.

“For now, everything is perfect but we still want to improve each day. I’m very proud of the team, we’re young and we’ve already shown the character - but the next few games will be a big test for us.”

Lovren has adapted to the Premier League with impressive ease, helping to keep six clean sheets in nine game.

Why does he think he has settled in so well?

“It was also tough in the French league,” he says.

“It's a hard league because there are a lot of counter attacks, a lot of quality players and really fast strikers.

“So I have a little experience and Southampton’s a really good town. The people are nice – it’s just the weather that isn’t perfect!”