Claude Puel says Southampton must be prepared to come up against a difficult opponent in West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.
Saints will be hoping to end 2016 with a win against what Puel describes as a “direct opponent” in the Premier League.
The Baggies currently sit just a place below Saints in the table as we approach the midway point of the season.
Speaking ahead of the clash, Puel said: “It’s a new game against a different opponent with a new style and profile and a very strong block.
“They like to defend together, so we may have difficulties to find space. We will have to show our quality.
“It’s another style of play, but it’s also difficult. It’s important for us to find the different solutions against every opponent.
“The table shows it is always difficult to play against any team, but it’s important to show our ability against different philosophies.”
Puel also credited West Brom for the way they have shown consistency this season. “They stay with a good regularity every time,” he added.
“It’s a little different than us, we can go up and down without the same regularity. It’s a strong team in the table.
“It’s a direct opponent, as we are competing for the same place in our next two games. We will try to take a good result.”