Ronald Koeman has underlined the importance of Saturday’s trip to Stoke City – and the following weekend’s clash with Liverpool – in the battle for Europe.
Saints’ final pair of fixtures before the international break are against the two sides immediately above them in the Barclays Premier League table, and Koeman has not shied away from how crucial these two games could be.
"It's an important game,” he told Southampton’s official YouTube channel of the trip to Britannia Stadium. “We play a lot. It's a must-win game, about our ambition and aspiration to go for Europe and then, of course, you need a positive result this Saturday.
"Every time, you are more close to the final of the season and if you don't win you pay for it on the end of the season.
“It's important after one point last week against Sunderland to get a good result and of course also against Liverpool, because then we have the international break and then we have to prepare ourselves for the last six or seven games, but this one Stoke and next week are really important for the rest of the season.”