Saints will need to finish the season how they started it if they are to stand a realistic chance of qualifying for the Europa League.

Despite Saturday’s 3-1 defeat at West Ham, Mauricio Pochettino’s side have not given up hope of booking a place in the competition.

As reported in today’s paper, centre-half Dejan Lovren believes that Saints still have the capacity to finish sixth this season.

While that does not guarantee a spot in the Europa League right now, there is a strong chance that the qualification places could drop that far.

Should Manchester City beat Sunderland in the League Cup final on Sunday, then sixth would indeed be good enough.

There is even a chance that qualification could drop to seventh, depending on which teams make the FA Cup final.

However, looking at what Saints would need to do in order to finish sixth, the likelihood is that Mauricio Pochettino’s men would have to average about two points per game over their final 11 matches to stand a reasonable chance.

It is a big challenge, but it is also exactly the form they showed in their opening 11 fixtures of the campaign, when they claimed 22 points.

Since the Premier League switched to a 20-team format, the average number of points earned by the team finishing sixth is a little over 60.

The highest total was 64 – achieved three times in 18 seasons – while the lowest was 55.

Saints currently have 39 points.

A haul of two points per game between now and the end of the season would give them 61, and put them just above the average for sixth.

If they are to finish there, they will need to overhaul the three teams immediately above them – Newcastle, Everton and Manchester United.

All of those sides must still visit St Mary’s before the season ends.

In terms of seventh place, the average number of points accumulated by the side finishing in that position has been just under 57.

The highest total was 63, while it has been as little as 53.