Graziano Pellè says Saints won’t change their approach in the final 16 matches of the season despite having only league position to play for between now and May.
The team’s exit from the FA Cup last weekend means that Ronald Koeman’s side is now focused on finishing as high up the Barclays Premier League table as possible, but Pellè isn’t looking that far ahead yet.
Speaking to reporters ahead of Sunday’s game against Swansea City at St Mary’s, the club’s top goal scorer affirmed his belief in the team’s mentality to carry on as normal.
“We can’t already think now about the end of the season,” he said. “We know that we have a lot of quality, and we know also that other teams they have a lot of quality.
“Then we are ten teams really like close to each other and they are fighting to have a place next year in some European competition. In the beginning, nobody believed in us, but now we are on the way to do well.
“We believe in ourselves and I can’t say now we’re going to be third, or we’re going to win the season, or we’re going to be tenth position.
“We just try to do our best possible to be on top, then it will make something nice for everybody, and we will see at the end of the season.”
Swansea arrive on the south coast eight days on from Saints’ previous home game, and Pellè hopes that the recent lesson will be learned following the defeat which ended the team’s unbeaten run of eight games in all competitions.
“Yes, of course we have to respect all the teams that come to us, because we know if we don’t play 100 per cent we can concede like we did against Crystal Palace,” he stated.
“The result of that game was not how we like. We know that we have to play 100 per cent and we respect them, but we know that we have a lot of qualities. If we play 100 per cent, at the end of the game of course the result will be on our side.
“They (Swansea) lost [Wilfried] Bony, a great striker, but they have many others, but we don’t have to really look at them. We have to look at us. We know if we do 100 per cent our job we’re going to win the game.”
If Pellè maintains his recent efforts then going for a win won’t be for a lack of trying with the stats showing that he has run more than any other Premier League forward this season.
“In the last period especially, when we change a bit away how to play, I know that I had to do a bit more sacrifices in the way to work for the team and for me it is a pleasure,” he highlighted.
“I’m happy to run, because more and more fitter in the match – it is not a problem to do that.”
The goals may not have flowed in that time, but another turn to the facts and figures show that the Saints frontman has hit the woodwork on six occasions in a team which has the league high tally of 13.
“As I said before, we are a bit changed [from] the way we were starting the season,” he reasons. “In the last period we had some games like with a 4-4-2 or I was the only striker with the other second striker behind me. I had to work more for the team instead and, at the end, be the main striker than waiting for a right ball to score.
“I got some few posts, but it is a part of the game. For me, I’m happy when the result at the end is fine. I say if I scored I would be two times more happy, but I’m still really enjoying the game. I’m still enjoying it and I’m happy because of that.”