Rickie Lambert says Southampton’s victory over Fulham provided yet more evidence that the squad’s hard work is paying off.
Lambert scored the first of Saints’ two goals as they swept past the Cottagers at St Mary’s on Saturday evening.
Much has been made in recent weeks of the labour being put in by Lambert and his teammates, both in matches and on the training ground.
And the striker says he’s enjoying the toil he is putting in, saying that Saints’ high-pressure playing style is clearly reaping rewards.
“It is very hard work but, if it’s hard for us, it’s going to be even harder for the opposition,” reasoned Lambert.
“It’s working because we totally believe in it. Every one of us in the squad is totally behind the gaffer and his ideas, and I think he got them spot-on [on Saturday].
“I thought it was an absolutely terrific performance from the boys. Everybody on the pitch worked perfectly on what we wanted to do. Some of our play was a pleasure to be a part of.
“Our game-plan was to try and dominate – to pass and move when we had the ball, and to get it back as fast as we could when we didn’t.
“Everyone knows how we play when we haven’t got the ball, but we showed everyone how good we can be when we have got it.
“We created some great chances and kept the ball terrifically throughout the game, so it was a great performance.”
The frontman was recalled to the team for Saturday’s game having started on the bench when Saints travelled to Manchester United the previous weekend.
And, after Dani Osvaldo was ruled out through injury, Lambert was glad to make an impact upon his return to the fold.
“I am always eager to play,” he affirmed, “but the gaffer made a decision to keep me on the bench last week, which I was completely fine with.
“He went for a different option in Dani, who missed out [against Fulham] – which was a shame. Whoever he picks, we know our jobs and the manager’s principles.
“I nearly scored two but it nice to get one – and from open play as well,” continued Lambert, who is now on three for the season.
“There was a bit of relief in the celebration. I like scoring and I like winning, so to get the first [goal] and help the team get the points was great.”
Saturday’s win lifted Saints into third spot, though they have now dropped down to fifth after Chelsea and Tottenham won on Sunday.
But striker Rickie says the squad are not too concerned by league positions at this stage of the campaign, and are purely focused on picking up a good result at Stoke City on Saturday.
“We’ve got our feet firmly on the ground,” insisted the England striker.
“We’ve got a hard game coming up next week that we’ll look to try and win – that’s all we’re thinking about at the minute.”