Fraser Forster has praised his teammates for helping Saints to the Premier League’s best defensive record heading into this weekend’s fixtures.
Forster has played in every minute of each game played this season, and conceded only five times in eight top-flight matches, with four clean sheets to boot following last weekend’s latest shut-out.
The former Glasgow Celtic goalkeeper, nicknamed ‘The Great Wall’ after setting a clean sheet record north of the border, is eyeing further improvement in a bid to maintain his ambitions with Saints and England.
“I think I’m just trying to improve on everything really, because you can always improve,” he told reporters ahead of facing Stoke City.
“The way we want to play football involves your feet as a goalkeeper - we want to pass out from the back if we can and then pop it around, so it’s just little things you just want to work on throughout the week.
“I love being a part of that team in the cup too because it gave me an opportunity to play. We went to Arsenal at the Emirates and to help us to the result we got was brilliant. I want to play in every minute of every game – I love playing football.”
The shot-stopper has also pointed to the impact that centre-back pairing Toby Alderweireld and José Fonte have had on the team’s record, and reserved special praise for the team captain for his role in that time.
“They’ve been massive for us,” said Forster.
“They’ve become so solid as a partnership in the really limited time they’ve had, but they’re both very good on the ball and José is a fantastic leader and really, really good on the training ground.
“I can’t speak highly enough of them both as players and it’s really good to be playing with them week-in-week-out. It makes the game a lot easier when you’re playing alongside that type of quality.”
Saints entertain Stoke this weekend before heading up to the Britannia a few days later for the next round of the Capital One Cup, and Forster is conscious of treating both fixtures with equal importance.
“It won’t be straightforward because they’re a good team and they have a good manager,” he described of Saturday’s encounter.
“It’ll be a tough game as there are no easy games in the Premier League and it’s one of them that we need to be prepared for and go into the game as positive as we can.
“Obviously we’ve got a lot of confidence from last week, but it’s important that we trained right and put our focus on the game.
“We want to stamp our authority on the game by having lots of possession and we’re going to have to work really hard to win the ball and keep it.
“It will be two separate games, although maybe in the second we’ll know a bit more about them from Wednesday to the Saturday,” he continued, but it’s important to focus on one game at a time.
“We want to try and come away with three points and get through as we want to keep that run going and collect as many points as we can by performing well.
“We want to focus on our way of playing because we’ve had a great start to the season by doing that. There were some things last week though that we could have done better so we need to focus on our key principles.”