Mauricio Pellegrino says Saints are more together and in better spirits than ever before, despite their survival troubles.

Pellegrino takes his team to relegation rivals Newcastle this afternoon desperate for three points to ease the nerves.

Though there have been fears that the squad could be getting demoralised by the situation they find themselves in, Pellegrino has sensed an added feeling of impetus over the last week and sounded in an upbeat mood ahead of the game.

He said: “Obviously I have got confidence in my players because this is a learning process every single day.

“In difficult situations when you are really close to your nature, you are really humble, and most of my players now the togetherness is higher and the spirit is much better than before.

“Our problem this season we draw 11 or 12 games. We are the Premier League team who draw more games in the Premier League.

“In some part of the job we do well but in other parts we couldn’t convert that in more goals to be honest or better results. Obviously I have confidence we can go higher.”

After last weekend’s goalless home draw to Stoke, the good news for Saints could be that today’s game at St James’ Park marks the start of a period of matches away from home.

“The reality shows us that in the last Premier League game we couldn’t win. That is the reality,” admitted Pellegrino.

“Now in four games time we will talk about if it was positive or not.

“To be honest I feel my players are conscious of how we have to approach the game, we need togetherness, we need to be solid, the environment I think is good right now because everybody is conscious how our attitude is at this moment.

“We are ready to compete.”

Given that both Pellegrino and his mentor, Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez, both set their sides up to be hard to beat it would suggest that this could be a tight and nervy encounter.

“Obviously Newcastle is a team that are really compact in their pitch, always with their fans lift the team,” reckoned Pellegrino.

“It’s a difficult team to manage because they don’t concede too much, good in counter attack and defending, difficult in set plays.

“We are in a good moment, my players are training really well but also for them a tough game because both teams need to win.

“I can’t imagine one game that any of those teams will be comfortable with one point.”