Ralph Hasenhüttl is targeting a strong end to the Premier League season, saying his Southampton team “have to go for it” to improve on last year’s 11th-placed finish.

Saints are currently 14th in the table – just as they were at the 2019/20 summer restart – and need wins to bridge the gap to the top half, which currently stands at 10 points.

Saints ended last season on a seven-match unbeaten run, and Hasenhüttl is hoping for a similar run this time around after exiting the Emirates FA Cup at the semi-final stage.

“We have seven games to go and there are a lot of points out there to get. We definitely need a few more,” the manager said.

“There is no excuse now about looking for the final. We can definitely concentrate on the league and this is what I want to see.

“Until the last game is played you cannot say it’s over and we are happy with our position. We want to take the next step forward, and that means being better than 11th like last season. This is still possible, but we have to go for it.”

The boss believes his team have slipped back into bad habits in recent weeks.

“We see we are not really moving forward at the moment – we are stepping on the same spot and the development we had in the first half of the season seems to be gone now,” he stated.

“A few behaviours, when you are not always working on them, they are dropping back to old behaviours.

"This is what we see in the moment and we definitely need to freshen up the team also for next season, and finally create new duels in the team that hopefully gives us a lift in the results, because we need more wins next season.

“We know that our squad is not the biggest one, and I think this is the goal for the summer transfer window.

“When you want to step out of the current position in the table then you have to have more alternatives. This is what we have to look for next season, otherwise we never have the chance to step up.”