Jos Hooiveld has revealed that he felt like the "fall guy" during Saints' nightmare start to the season.
The centre-half was part of a side that struggled defensively in the opening weeks of the campaign, with the team shipping 14 goals in their first four matches.
Hooiveld, who was dropped in mid-September in favour of summer signing Maya Yoshida, believes he was made the scapegoat for much of those struggles.
However, the Dutchman has re-established himself under new manager Mauricio Pochettino, climbing above Jose Fonte in the pecking order.
Saints' defensive strength has improved drastically as the season has progressed and, in their last five games, they have not conceded more than one goal.
As a result, a resurgent Hooiveld believes he has proved his doubters wrong.
''I like to prove people wrong,'' he said. ''If you look at my career, I've proven people wrong everywhere I have been.
''I did at Celtic and then in Copenhagen they didn't want me. At the end of the day, I am standing there with a smile on my face and that is football.
''If you're going to look at all my games at the beginning, it was not that poor. People were saying it was poor, it was bad and they had to blame someone. Oh, and that is me.
''We're now over that, it is nice to play and it not like I am amazing now and before I was terrible, you know?
''I think the best part of everything is that we're getting the points, but at the beginning of the season you could see that the whole team was struggling.
''We didn't have much experience in the Premier League so it was a bit annoying when it was 'Jos this', 'Jos that'.
''I was a bit unfortunate with own goals, penalties or whatever. It was a thin line. Sometimes you are the praised man and at the beginning of the season I was the fall guy. I took the blame for everything.
''It bothered me a little bit when people pointed the finger at my direction. It is always nice to get the revenge and I always knew as soon as everyone was established we were going to be a serious Premier League side.''
Hooiveld is also hoping that his teammate Artur Boruc will stay at the club beyond this season, with the keeper's contract due to run out in the summer.
''I would definitely like him to stay,'' Hooiveld said. ''I played with him at Celtic for a little while - actually just one-and-a-half games because I got injured.
''They don't call him the 'holy goalie' for nothing. You don't get that nickname for nothing.
''He is a good presence and a bit of a character. Everybody knows that.
''If he doesn't like something, you will know about it. At the beginning our fans had to get used to it I remember, but that is something you have to appreciate in people as well.
''Not everybody has to be the friendly guy like me, if you know what I mean? Sometimes you have to have people who also have that other side.''