Ruben Selles has acknowledged Southampton’s recent defensive improvement and knows his side will face another tough challenge against Brentford on Wednesday.
The Saints’ goalless draw with Manchester United last time out ensured they picked up back-to-back clean sheets for the first time this season.
Southampton remain rooted to the foot of the Premier League but a win in front of their own fans against Brentford will see them move out of the bottom three for the first time since November.
Selles has only been in charge for four league matches and feels he has already seen a defensive improvement in his side but is not getting carried away.
He told a press conference: “Defensively we have been solid but we still need to be better.
“Every opponent is different, it’s not the same build up against Brentford than what we faced against Manchester United.
“I think with every game we learn something and do something, talk more with the players and are more examples – I think we are getting there.
“We are able to have the ball and be dominant, we want to play and defend higher – It’s not like we are focussed on the clean sheets, I know what it means for us and the principles we have in the game, we are not taking the offence apart to stay with the clean sheets.”
Brentford have enjoyed a wonderful campaign so far and are eyeing up a European place come the end of the season.
Thomas Frank’s in-form side currently sit ninth but lost for the first time in 12 league games last time out in a 1-0 defeat at Everton.
It seems Selles has finally got a tune out of his Saints side but has not turned a blind eye to the threat of Brentford.
He continued: “We need to be at our top. Every game if we are not at our top and we don’t give ourselves the chance to perform then we cannot compete against anybody so we need to be at our top.
“They can play with a lot of systems, they are all players that can attack the space. It’s a different challenge but we are ready for it and we will solve the situations and we will have a game plan ready.
“When we took 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 having good performances.”
Only five points separate the sides from Crystal Palace in 12th to bottom-placed Southampton, in what is shaping up to be one of the tightest relegation scraps in recent times.
Selles is not shocked by how close the table is after recent results.
He said: “The more teams the better (towards the bottom of the table). I’m not surprised because as you saw every team can beat every team in the Premier League.
“We saw how difficult it was for Arsenal to beat Bournemouth, Liverpool lost 1-0 and we did it against Chelsea and we almost won but drew with a good performance against Manchester United and you have a lot of example but I’m not surprised.”
Defender Ainsley Maitland-Niles is a doubt after he picked up a knock in training which saw him miss the trip to Old Trafford.
Juan Larios and Tino Livramento remain long-term absentees.