Midfielder on EFL Cup semi-final
“It's been a very enjoyable time, but there's always been something missing,” says Steven Davis, as he reflects on his time on the south coast.
It is four-and-a-half years now since the midfielder joined Southampton, and his presence has undoubtedly been a key factor in the continued progression of the team during that period.
Still, for Davis, there remains a notable step that hasn't been taken with Saints as yet.
“It’s getting to a final and going and playing on that stage, and under that pressure,” he says, ahead of the first leg of the EFL Cup semi-final with Liverpool.
“There's no better feeling than lifting silverware in your career. It's something that you'll remember for a long time, whenever you're finished.
“Obviously, we're in a very fortunate position to be playing the game that we love, but the icing on the cake is always picking up a piece of silverware and winning medals.
“It's something you can tell the grandkids about when you're older, so it's a great opportunity. We're not underestimating the task at hand, how difficult it's going to be over the two legs, but we're desperate to get ourselves to a final and we'll give it 100 per cent to give ourselves the best chance to do that.”
Davis, who won two Scottish Cups and three Scottish League Cup titles in his time with Rangers, as well as reaching a UEFA Cup final, believes a trophy would represent a “natural progression” for Saints.
Nonetheless, as close as they might be, the midfielder is acutely aware of how big the obstacles to that success still are.
“It's something that we spoke about over the last few seasons, and it was one of our targets at the start of this season, to try to get ourselves to a final and hopefully get some silverware,” he explains.
“But we've got two really difficult games coming up, home and away, against a team with a lot of quality.”
Indeed, Saints need no reminding of that, having been beaten 6-1 at home by tonight’s opponents in the quarter-finals of last season’s EFL Cup.
"Of course, it's never nice to be on the end of a result like that, but we know the quality they have,” says Davis.
“They can cause you problems and it was a difficult 90 minutes for us, but hopefully we've learned from that and I think we've shown that over the course of the last 12 months or so anyway.
“We've obviously played Liverpool at home earlier in the season, and we put in a really strong defensive performance. We obviously need to do a little bit better with the ball ourselves, but we're confident with the quality in the group that we can go and get a result.”
The team’s belief was certainly boosted in the competition by their performance in this season’s quarter-final, as they won 2-0 at Arsenal to finally get past the last eight.
"I thought it was a really accomplished performance from us,” says Davis. “We scored goals at the right times, kept possession at the right times and defended well, so it's about trying to get that right blend.
“Clearly we're going to be underdogs against the likes of Arsenal and Liverpool, but if we can get that blend right in terms of how we perform then I'm sure we can do the job.”
Nothing can officially be decided tonight, but Davis knows how important a positive result would be – for either side – ahead of the second leg, at Anfield, in two weeks.
steven davisWe need to show the desire and what it means to us.
on the first leg against liverpool
"I think you've just got to approach it as a one-off game really,” he says. “It's difficult to think of too many different scenarios, because in football things change so quickly – they can change in an instant in a game – so we've just got to approach it that we want to go out and win the game first and foremost, and keep a clean sheet hopefully.
“That would be a big bonus, and if we can go and score a goal it would be nice to take a lead into the away game.
“It's a game we can't wait to get going with. We just need to do our best and be on top form if we're going to get a result over the two legs, and show the desire and what it means to us. If we can fight for every ball and show our quality then hopefully that will be enough to see us through.”