Oriol Romeu believes Southampton’s trip to Stoke City could be a six-pointer in the race for Europe.
Both clubs are targeting qualification for the Europa League, and, with just two points and one place separating them in the table, the clash at Britannia Stadium could have significant ramifications for each side’s ambitions.
Saints are currently ninth in the standings, with Stoke eighth, and Romeu has underlined the significance of the game.
He told Southampton’s official YouTube channel: "Those European places will be in these games and now it's like a six-point game, because whoever wins will go ahead, so it will be very important, it will be a crucial game, so we hope we can get the three points.
"If we get the three points, it can make a good difference and some confidence for the next ones and it would be very important for us to get those three points.”
On the challenge posed by Mark Hughes’s team, Romeu said: "They are doing very well, they are very good offensively, they are strong in the middle, so we should take that seriously.
“They have very tough players, like Arnautović, Shaqiri, Bojan, Joselu – they are quick, they are difficult, they are good in technique, so we have to help each other very good, we have to defend solid and then our players in front just to create those chances that they are doing lately and hopefully we can get the win.”