Mauricio Pochettino has called on his Saints side to round off a “fantastic season” in style.

With Saints drawing 0-0 at Aston Villa and Newcastle losing at home to Swansea, Pochettino’s men have opened up a three point cushion as they look to equal the club’s best ever Premier League finish.

They sit ahead of the Magpies in eighth place, and if they could still be there at the end of the campaign it would equal the best position the club have had in the Premier League era when Gordon Strachan’s FA Cup finalists achieved the feat in 2003.

Saints have played well in recent weeks but struggled for wins and Pochettino, below, is hoping that a fine season will be rounded off in style in the last three games which sees home matches against Everton and Man United and a trip to Swansea.

He said: “We have already achieved quite a high grade.

“We have already done well throughout the season taking into account the problems we have had on and off the pitch.

“We have had a fantastic season so far.

“Of course it would be great to finish the season on a high note but if you analyse the season so far we have had a fantastic season.”

Saints dominated at Villa Park but couldn’t quite turn that into goals.

It was a match of few chances but the best of them certainly fell to Saints.

“We deserved to win,” reflected Pochettino. “We did everything right, we did everything well, except score.

“I am very happy with the team’s performance but I’m a little bit sad because we created many chances and were a little bit wasteful as well.”

He added: “We are reaching the end of the season and it’s clear we are all needing points.

“Villa are in a very difficult situation where they need a lot of points to ensure survival for next season but I was actually pleasantly surprised by the great atmosphere at the stadium. It was a really nice stadium, probably one of the best I’ve been to in England.”