Morgan Schneiderlin insists that Saints’ improvement away from home is partly down to the players becoming increasingly bad losers – even on the training ground.
The club responded to the disappointing home defeat to Sunderland with potentially valuable draws at both Fulham and Stoke over the Christmas period.
Having led 3-1 at the Britannia Stadium, and with the hosts finishing the game a man down, Nigel Adkins’ side will feel they should actually have taken more from their two festive trips.
But, even if the points return was not as high as it could have been, Saints can certainly take heart from their performances.
“We keep a better shape about ourselves and, to be honest, you don’t have anything without working, and we work very hard at the training ground,” said Schneiderlin, when asked the reasons for the improvement away from home.
“Now we can see that every five-a-side game everyone wants to win, everyone wants to protect his goal and that’s what makes a difference at the weekend, because what you do in training you reproduce it in a game.
“That’s a difference.”
The midfielder added: “We want people to be mad when they lose in training, because if you smile after losing that’s not good.
“In football you need to be a bad loser – when you lose to not be happy and when you win be happy, but that’s football.
“We say to ourselves it’s not good to concede a goal at training, it’s not good to do this, but everyone has got a winning mentality.
“It’s something natural for a footballer, but it’s something that you need to show.”
Saints’ struggles on the road this season are well documented.
Six of their first seven away games ended in defeat, with the 3-1 victory at fellow strugglers QPR remaining the sole success outside St Mary’s.
However, Schneiderlin, right, believes they have a solid platform from which to build on after their last two matches, even if they have slipped back into the drop zone.
That confidence could be crucial with their next away match a massive clash at lowly Aston Villa.
“We don’t really look at the table,” he said. “I know Wigan had a good win, but we just do our best.
“Two away games, not the easiest places to go – Fulham and Stoke – we could have four points, we could even have more, so you can see it in two ways.
“But that will help us to be stronger and that will give us some confidence for the rest of the season.”