José Fonte says the Southampton squad started to believe a long time ago that they could achieve something special this season.
Since Fonte arrived at the club over five years ago, Saints have been on an upward spiral, with a winning mentality instilled throughout, and the defender says the squad will never settle for anything less than success.
After six unbeaten in the Premier League, since a 3-0 success against Everton in mid-December, Saints have moved up to third in the table, and Fonte insists the squad will give it their all to stay there.
“We just want to keep winning. I can tell you that we will fight until the last drop of sweat to keep this position and to keep improving,” he told saintsfc.co.uk.
“This group of players started believing a long time ago. What people maybe don’t understand is that we’ve been successful players and a successful team for five years.
“We don’t settle for mid-table or settle for draws. We always want to win, we always want to be the best and we always want to compete to prove that we can be there at the top.
“Since five years ago, we’ve had successive promotions and we’ve been to Wembley to win the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy. In this club and in these players, there is a lot that can tell you that we are winners.”
The captain, who has made 210 appearances in all competitions since his arrival from Crystal Palace in 2010, says the draw with Chelsea just before the New Year was a crucial moment in Saints’ season.
Having suffered defeats to Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal prior to that, the 31 year-old believes that point against José Mourinho’s was significant for the belief of the squad.
“I think an important game was against Chelsea,” he added. “We managed to hold on when we were under immense pressure against possibly the best team in the league.
“After that, we went on to win some important games against big teams, so I think that game was probably the turning point in our team, starting to believe we can compete against anyone.
“Like I’ve said many times before, we go into every game trying to win. We can compete against any team in this league and we’ve proved that many times before.”