Ruben Selles has acknowledged the recent improvement in Southampton’s defense and knows his side face another difficult challenge against Brentford on Wednesday.
The Saints’ goalless draw against Manchester United last time out saw them keep their first clean sheet in a row this season.
Southampton remain rooted at the foot of the Premier League but a win in front of their own fans against Brentford will see them emerge from the bottom three for the first time since November.
Selles has only been in charge for four league games and already feels improved on the defensive, but does not let himself be carried away.
He said at a press conference: “Defensively we were solid but we still need to get better.
“Every opponent is different, it’s not the same build-up against Brentford as it is against Manchester United.
“I think with every game we learn something and do something, talk to the players more and be more role models – I think we’re getting there.
“We are able to have the ball and be dominant, we want to play higher and defend – it’s not that we focus on goals conceded, I know what that means for us and what principles we have in the game have, we’re not Dissect offense to stay on goals against.
Brentford have had a wonderful season so far and are aiming for a European place by the end of the season.
Thomas Frank’s in-form side are currently in ninth place but lost last time out in a 1-0 defeat at Everton for the first time in 12 league games.
It seems Selles has finally gotten a tune out of his Saints side but hasn’t ignored the threat from Brentford.
He continued: “We have to be at the top. If we’re not on top in every game and don’t give ourselves a chance to perform, we can’t play anyone, so we have to be on top.
“You can play with many systems, they are all players who can attack the space. It’s a different challenge but we’re ready for it and we’ll solve the situations and we’ll have a game plan ready.
“When we took over the team the situation was much more complicated because the results and the performances were not good, but now we are in the same position but with good performances.”
Just five points separate 12th-placed Crystal Palace and bottom-placed Southampton in one of the closest relegation battles in recent memory.
Selles isn’t shocked at how tight the table is after the recent results.
He said: “The more teams the better (towards the bottom of the table). I’m not surprised because as you’ve seen, any team can beat any team in the Premier League.
“We saw how difficult it was for Arsenal to beat Bournemouth, Liverpool lost 1-0 and we managed against Chelsea and we almost won but with a good performance drew against Manchester United and you did many examples, but I’m not surprised.”
Defender Ainsley Maitland-Niles is doubtful after suffering a blow in training that saw him miss the trip to Old Trafford.
Juan Larios and Tino Livramento remain absent for the long term.