Nigel Adkins insists Saints have to keep their positivity and belief despite a 6-1 beating at Arsenal making it four games without a Premier League point.

Saints have had a tough start to the season but a heavy defeat at the Emirates Stadium has just piled on the pressure ahead of hosting Aston Villa at St Mary’s.

“I’ve had a conversation with the players in the dressing room and the reality was what many of you journalists already highlighted – it was quite a challenging start to the campaign,” reflected Adkins.

“It has proved that way in respect of the results but we believe we have got a good group of players who play football in the right manner, we have scored yet again so we know we can score and as a unit we have got to make sure we become more resilient in our defending.

“We have played against the three best teams in the division and it just highlights that you will get punished.”

He added: “I think we’ve got belief we can play in this division.

“Obviously this scoreline is not ideal but I think if you know me I’m a very positive person, a very positive character and we will analyse this game and will quickly move on from it.

“We have learnt a lot about everybody because when your backs are up against the wall you do find out about people.

“I must say I thought James Ward-Prowse was outstanding.

“At 17-years-old to keep playing, to keep getting on the ball and wanting to pass it was really really promising.”

Adkins admits there will be major pressure on his players to get a first win since their return to the Premier League at the weekend but is optimistic.

“Of course it does (add pressure) and we are not going to hide away from that, that’s what football is,” said Adkins.

“But what we will do is keep our positivity and we have stability at Southampton . We believe in what we do, how we play and we have demonstrated we can score goals.

“We have good football players and we will work very hard for each other and next week I’m sure St Mary’s will be bouncing because the supporters are with us on the journey we are on.”