ORIOL Romeu believes the impending run of Premier League matches will decide if Saints avoid relegation or not.

The ‘season-defining’ stretch begins this Saturday at Burnley, before Stoke visit St Mary’s next week and Saints travel to Newcastle and West Ham in March.

The stint also included a trip to Swansea, but that match will now be rearranged for a later date after Saints progressed to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup.

Nonetheless, Mauricio Pellegrino’s 18th-placed side enter a meaningful period of winnable games knowing if they don’t succeed the dreaded drop to the Championship is a likelihood.

“We put ourselves here and these games will define the season,” said Romeu. “They will give us a chance to stay up. We must put the chances away.

“It’s a battle because they’re six-pointer games because we can make up the gap on them or the other way around.

“Now it comes and sometimes it’s better to have it like this than playing against the top six after each other.

“The battles will be there and we have to react and focus because we haven’t done it yet.

“I don’t remember having two wins in a row in the league.”

In the final run-in to the end of the season through April and into May, Saints face top-six outfits Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City, so this approaching stint against their direct rivals for survival is a big opportunity.

While still riding high in 7th place and certainly not in relegation danger, this Saturday’s opponents Burnley have not won in ten Premier League games.

Romeu is aware they’re in a bad moment, but the 26-year-old has urged Saints not to underestimate the Clarets.

He said: “It will be a battle. It will be a hard game. We know how they play and know what they do well.

“They will do everything they can because they’re not feeling enough at the moment and will be looking for a reaction.

“We cannot play around and not make any silly mistakes. This is a game to win and not to play. We will take 2-1 in the last minute.

“We know it’s not important to play amazing football now.

“We have to win games and that will give us in the next two or three games more space and freedom to play but it will be massive.”