José Fonte believes Saints are peaking at just the right time this season, as they bid to improve on what they achieved in the last campaign.
Ronald Koeman’s side secured a club-record Premier League finish in 2014/15, as they came home in seventh position, earning a passage to Europe in the process.
However, even then Fonte suggested there was a tinge of disappointment that they had not finished in a higher spot, and he says there is a determination to ensure they better their efforts this time around.
“I think we're peaking,” he told Southampton’s official YouTube channel. “I think last year was the opposite. We peaked too early. We were doing really, really well until a month ago and then we started losing the momentum and we lost a few games in a row, we couldn't score, and this year is the opposite. We are going up.
“It was frustrating last year, because I thought with the team that we had and the quality that we were showing I think we could have broken into the top four. That's my opinion. We missed it by nine points or something like that.
“That's a bit frustrating, obviously, because it would have been fantastic and a great opportunity for everyone, but again we have 12 games to go, a lot of points that we need to fight for and hopefully we can have the best finish in the Premier League [that we have ever had].”
Fonte added: "You know this year the Premier League is open and up for grabs, so this is probably the best opportunity for everyone to achieve higher than ever, so obviously if we finish sixth it would be better than last year, so we would look at that as a positive season, a very good season, but if we have fifth, or if we have fourth really close to us that's where we need to focus and that's where we need to fight for – always fight for more.”