Morgan Schneiderlin believes West Ham will be eager to show that they can match up to the feats achieved by Saints last season.
Speaking to Saints Player ahead of Saturday’s trip to Upton Park in the Barclays Premier League, Morgan feels that Sam Allardyce’s men will be out to demonstrate just how close the gap between automatic promotion and the play-offs was back in April.
“I’m sure that the West Ham manager and the coaches are going to say to their players ‘prove that you deserved to go up automatically’, but it’s up to us to keep our concentration and show them again why we deserved it as well,” the Frenchman explained.
Schneiderlin was an instrumental part of the side that gained promotion at the expense of the Hammers, and a record of one win and one draw last term shows that Nigel Adkins’ men have what it takes to get a result this weekend.
“It’s a game that we need to enjoy,” the midfielder stressed. “They will be a hard opponent and put lots of balls into the box, but we’ve worked very hard on the training ground this week to try and stop that.
“We’ve got a game-plan which we think will work.
“They play a certain way of football which works for them at the moment and we will be out to stop that on Saturday.
“Out of the teams we’ve played, maybe they are a bit like Everton but I think we can adapt to different styles and it’s a great game to show everyone that we can defend as well because there will be a lot of crosses into the box. We’ve conceded a lot of goals this season and now we want to show everyone and to ourselves that we can defend.”
Conceding goals has been Saints’ Achilles heel in a steep learning curve at the start of the campaign, and Morgan acknowledges that it’s as much of a team effort to keep goals out as it is to score them.
“It’s not just the back four and the goalkeeper,” he states. “We have to have our shape from the striker through to the ‘keeper, and everyone has to work.
“We press hard and talk to each other, and that’s we want to do - last year it worked for us as we didn’t concede many goals, but we need to be better in this league.
“If we can keep a clean sheet or stop conceding some goals then we know we will score and we will win games, but that’s the two most difficult things in football: to score goals and not concede.
“We’ve proved that we can score and now we need to prove that we cannot concede as well.”
The statistics show that Schneiderlin covers more ground per game on average than any other player in the Premier League, and the energetic midfield man says he’s fresh and raring to go again after the international break.
“It was good to recharge the batteries as we had a good sized break and now I’m ready for the next couple of games,” he affirmed.
“I’ve enjoyed every minute of it so far and I want to progress to be the best that I can from each game.
“It’s a superb league and I want to play all my career in the Premier League.
“I want to improve still because I think there are some parts of my game that I can improve on, and hopefully I can do that here.”