DEFENDER Jannik Vestergaard believes Saints are now “a lot more in sync” as a group and added: “We’re a better team than we were a year ago.”

The Danish centre-back has enjoyed a stellar start to the campaign, which has seen the St Mary’s side sit fifth in the Premier League after nine games.

Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men are unbeaten in their past seven league contests – all of which Vestergaard has played the entire 90 minutes.

He is in line to keep his place when Saints welcome Manchester United to the south coast on Sunday.

Asked whether his impressive displays this season were down to confidence, Vestergaard said: “Confidence is very important, but I think the team has developed.

“I think we’re a better team than we were a year ago. We’re a lot more stable. We’re a lot more in sync.

“The way we defend and press is a little bit different to the way you get brought up in football, the way you go through the education system.

“So that has taken some time to fully adapt to I think, where you are all fully in sync and expect the same of each other.

“When you’re on that same page, it’s a lot easier to navigate as a defender. I think we at the back just benefit from that at the moment.”

Since losing their opening two league fixtures against Crystal Palace and Tottenham, Hasenhuttl has guided Saints to 17 points from a possible 21.

“He (Hasenhuttl) doesn’t like to lose football games,” added Hvidovre-born Vestergaard.

“When it starts making a real change is when the team believes it.

“At the end of the day, the players are on the pitch and if we don’t accept losses or if we get a winning mentality where we expect to win games, that’s when it starts to really change stuff. I think we have developed in that sense.

“There were definitely times where we as a team or as a club didn’t have the most confidence and maybe didn’t even when we walked onto the pitch expect to win, if we were completely honest with ourselves.

“That has changed. Even taking the game against Tottenham where we lost 5-2, we had the ambition to beat them and we didn’t go very defensive and have 11 players in the box, we try to have an open game and try to press up high.

“In that game we got punished for it but it just shows that we want to win games.

“We’re not here to destroy the football of the opponent team, we try to impose our style of play.”