Victor Wanyama believes Southampton cannot afford to look at the table when they head to Goodison Park to take on Everton this weekend.
Roberto Martinez’s side have found the going tougher this season due to their European commitments, and currently sit 13th in the Premier League standings with eight games left.
Saints on the other hand, under the guidance of Ronald Koeman, sit sixth in the table, a place below where the Toffees finished themselves last season, and harbor their own hopes of securing European football for the 2015/16 campaign.
Wanyama, who has played a key role in helping Koeman’s side to their lofty position in the table, says he’s expecting a very difficult test on Saturday afternoon.
“Everton are a good team and it’s going to be a tough game, especially away from home,” Wanyama told saintsfc.co.uk. “Hopefully we can go there and work as hard as possible to get a positive result.
“I think they have struggled a bit because they have had a lot of games to play and it’s not easy. It’s not easy for them because they were playing in the Europa League, the cups and the Premier League.
“It’s a big thing to ask and you need a big squad for that. They have been doing well. They were in the Europa League until recently, they did fantastic in that, but it’s because of that maybe they haven’t been so consistent in the league.”
A win at Goodison Park would help Saints further cement their place in the top seven, and heighten their chances of European football next season, but Wanyama is aiming as high as possible ahead of the final eight games.
“With me personally I always look to the top if you can catch up,” he added. “That’s where every player is looking. We want to try as hard as possible to catch up with the other teams. If we compete hard I think we can do that.”
Wanyama has played his part in Southampton’s excellent defensive record so far this season, and the midfielder says he’s proud of how well Saints have done defensively this term.
The 23 year-old also believes the competition for places in midfield can help the team between now and the end of the campaign.
“I’m proud that we can keep the clean sheets and that we have a good record,” commented Wanyama. “Hopefully we can keep that going until the end of the season.
“The competition makes players better. It’s difficult to be on the bench, it’s hard to take sometimes but you have to accept it. Also it can give you fresh legs.
“Then when you are ready to come on you have to come on and show what you can do. I think we have been doing that the whole season, everyone is just ready to play.”