Jason Puncheon is surprised some have written off Saints' survival chances already but thinks it could play into the south coast side's hands.

Saints have lost their first four matches back in the top flight, leading some to suggest that manager Nigel Adkins ' position is in jeopardy and relegation back to the Championship beckons.

Puncheon could not help but smile when told of such gloomy predictions and, rather than focus on the start to the season, was keen to focus on the positives heading into today's clash with Aston Villa.

''Being written off is always a good thing you know because we can use that,'' the 26-year-old said. ''We're always going to be the underdogs as people would say.

''If you're totally honest, if you look at the Man United and Man City games we didn't let them get in their stride.

''We held our own and the good thing is we can only better. We have got no points on the board, being 'rubbish' if everyone wants to say that.

''In football, there is always thin margins. People always say 'they could have done this', 'they could have done that' but now we have got to put things into action ourselves.

''We have a big game on Saturday and three points are needed.

''The season starts now so you take the positives from those games we've played into the game on Saturday.''