Luke Shaw believes Saints have the potential to soon be challenging for the top five of the Premier League.

The left-back was part of a sensational team performance on Saturday, as Mauricio Pochettino’s side pummelled Newcastle 4-0.

The victory moved Saints back up to eighth in the Premier League, and Shaw believes the club can push on even further in the coming seasons.

He said: “Definitely, I think if we get our squad strengthened.

“I think in the next year or so we can be challenging the top five teams.”

Shaw agreed with fellow defender José Fonte’s assessment last week that Saints are entering a vital summer, as they bid to continue the progress of the last five years.

‘Long-term contract’ The 18-year-old added his name to the list of stars hoping that Pochettino will sign a new long-term contract, and he believes that will be a priority for the club, followed by retaining their star players.

“Yeah, I would say it is a big time for the club,” said Shaw.

“They’ve got to get the manager down on a long-term contract, which will probably be the first thing they try and do.

“Then, obviously, to keep the stars that have been mentioned in the papers that have been linked with different clubs.

“I think this is a very important summer, and, if they want to push on, then they are going to have to do the things that I’ve just said.”

Shaw is one player who Saints will want to keep hold of.

Barely a week, or even a day at times, goes by without him being linked with a move to one of the Premier League’s top clubs this summer.

Speculation But Shaw, who has another four years to run on his contract after this season, shrugged off the speculation.

“That will always be in the newspapers,” he said.

“But, as I have said plenty of times, my main focus is on the pitch.”

In the last week, Shaw has even been linked with Spanish giants Real Madrid.

“That’s obviously not true,” he said. “You know what papers are like.

“There is not a club I am not linked with, but I don’t focus on that.

“My main priority is my football on the pitch and I just want to keep doing well.”

Shaw’s manager, Pochettino, said last week that the full-back could indeed play for a team like Real, and is already one of the best left-backs in the world.

“I saw on Twitter what he said. It is a massive thing for someone like that to say that about me,” said Shaw.

“It is great and it will only boost my confidence. Hopefully I can keep going strong until the end of the season.

“He knows his stuff and to hear that off the manager is very good.”

Shaw added: “He has helped me a lot. The way he likes his full-backs to play is high and wide.

“He wants you to show what you can do in the final third and I think, in the game nowadays, full-backs have got to be able to attack. That is something I love doing and I want to keep working on that.”