JAMES Ward-Prowse says that it is vital Saints build on their victory at Stoke as they bid to secure a place in European football next season.

Saints returned to winning ways after a three-game winless streak at the Britannia Stadium and Ward-Prowse wants Ronald Koeman’s men to push on against Liverpool at St Mary’s next Sunday.

“These three points don’t mean anything if next weekend we go and lose to Liverpool,” the midfielder said.

“That’s a game that all the fans especially want to win, we want to win and I think if we win it gives us even more momentum going into the final leg.”

Graziano Pelle netted twice – ending a goal drought that had rumbled on since November – before Marko Arnautovic’s second-half effort made it 2-1 at Stoke.

Saints held-out to end a frustrating run and Ward-Prowse believes that the result, which lifted Saints to seventh in the Premier League, puts them right back on track in the chase for Europa League spot.

“We had two games where we were disappointed with how we played and this is a real good three points that got us back on track and puts us ahead of our rivals for what we want to achieve,” he said.

“Stoke are geared up to play European football like us, so to be able to get one over on them is nice.

“Hopefully that’ll give us some more momentum going into the last few games.”

The England Under-21 captain was brought on for Jordy Clasie in the second-half and was impressed with how Saints coped without captain Jose Fonte, who was serving a one-match ban.

“Well done to us because he’s an important personality, he’s our leader and I think the way the lads at the back stepped up today was fantastic,” he said.

“It was a good sign that we can cope without him at tough places like Stoke.”

The 21-year-old admits that he was impressed with the way Ryan Bertrand slotted into the back four next to Virgil van Dijk.

The England left-back had played as one of three centre-backs in the past, but this was his first time in the middle, where he partnered Virgil van Dijk.

“It shows his versatility, he’s won the Champions League and you can tell with his experience that no matter where he plays, regardless of what position it is, he can perform, which is really important for us,” said Ward-Prowse.