Ronald Koeman says the unpredictability of the Barclays Premier League means Southampton cannot rest on their laurels at any stage.
Saints currently sit 12th in the table after 15 games of the season, but a win against Crystal Palace this weekend would see them move above the Eagles, who occupy sixth place heading into the latest round of fixtures.
And Koeman says a positive run over the hectic festive period could give any team the opportunity to really kick on during the second half of the season.
“We know we have a difficult schedule but that’s the same for everybody,” Koeman told youtube.com/southamptonfc. “It’s a tough period for everybody.
“But it’s all very close to each other. If you look to the positions on the table, Southampton is 12th but with two more points we can be sixth on the table.
“That means that everybody is close. It’s not a big difference between one game or one opponent with the other.”
And Koeman looked at results in recent weeks to emphasise his view on the competitiveness of the Premier League. “Everything is unpredictable,” he added.
“Because we won against Chelsea, we lost against Stoke City, Stoke won against Man City. We lost against Liverpool and then Newcastle – one of the bottom clubs – won against Liverpool.
“You have to be prepared every weekend. You can lose and win against every opponent.”