JACK Stephens insists Saints are not naive but fully aware of the gravity of their situation in the Premier League.

Positioned just a point outside the relegation zone, Saints sit 17th in the elite with nine games remaining and are in the throes of a scrap for survival.

Mauricio Pellegrino’s strugglers now travel to Newcastle in a six-pointer this Saturday hoping to pull clear and the 24-year-old centre-back isn’t underestimating the challenge they’re facing.

When asked if there is an understanding of the seriousness of their situation among the team, Stephens said: “Of course there is. No one is too good to go down. We know we’re a good side but we’re not naive enough to think we won’t go down.

“We don’t think like that, we know how tough this league is and we know how good the teams are.

“We saw that Stoke aren’t just going to roll over for us and that’s the same going into next week and the rest of the games this season.

“Every team is fighting for a different reason.”

Saints have been unable to drag themselves up the top-flight at this stage, but are in relatively good form, having lost just two of their last nine in the league.

“There’s no gap. It’s one win and we can start to turn it around. That’s the good thing, one win and we can fire up four or five places,” said Stephens.

“We’ve just got to keep going. I know we keep saying it but we have to. We’ve got to dig in and keep going.”

Saints’ better form has still yielded just one Premier League win in 16 matches – the 3-2 triumph at West Bromwich Albion last month.

Mostly, Saints have drawn games, recording a top-flight high of 13 draws this season. It’s a trend Stephens knows Pellegrino’s men must change to have a chance of staying up.

“Since the turn of the year we’ve been a lot lot better. We’ve only lost once or twice since the turn of the year, so on paper that’s good,” he said.

“But we haven’t had as many wins as we’d like and we’ve drawn far too many games and we’ve really got to start turning those draws into wins because it’s the wins that keep you up.”

Stephens remains confident that Saints can get out of trouble, though.

“It’s the same pressure as last year when I came into the team. Playing for Southampton you’re always under pressure in this league. Everyone at this club, the fans and everyone involved demands results and rightly so,” he said.

“Us as players we always put pressure to get the results, so it’s no different to last year when we were a lot more comfortable going into the back end of the season.

“But every game there’s pressure, it’s a pressured league to be in, and we are where we are in the table, but I am really confident that we can get out of the trouble we’re in.

“I feel sure we will.”