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Graziano Pelle has been magnificent for Southampton - Steven Davis

Published 02/11/2015

Southampton manager Ronald Koeman is keen to temper expectations
Southampton manager Ronald Koeman is keen to temper expectations

Steven Davis believes Graziano Pelle is "vital" to Southampton after the striker scored his ninth goal of the season in Sunday's win over Bournemouth.

Northern Ireland midfielder Davis opened the scoring as Saints beat their south-coast rivals 2-0 at St Mary's to move up to seventh in the Barclays Premier League.

Pelle added the second just five minutes after Davis' opener - powerfully heading home Dusan Tadic's cross in his now-trademark style.

The Italian has been playing well of late and, having already been praised by manager Ronald Koeman after the victory, Davis has added to the plaudits.

"I think he plays a vital role," Davis said of the 30-year-old striker.

"I think everybody knows we like to try and play football, but he also gives us that outlet if we want to go a little bit more direct and he can cause teams a lot of problems.

"We can play off him and he's probably one of the best in the league in terms of doing that, so he's been magnificent for us. Obviously, the goals that he's scored as well, you can see he's playing full of confidence."

Davis has now netted four goals in his last seven games for club and country having failed to register a single goal in the whole of last season.

"It's nice to see the ball hitting the back of the net," he told Southampton's official website. "I think I just always try to get into the positions, but it was a great team goal. The first one I think the boys worked it really well and it was a great ball in from Ryan Bertrand and nice to get on the end of it.

"I just have to keep on trying to get into those positions and hopefully get a few more between now and the end of the season."

While Southampton are enjoying a strong spell having started the campaign slowly, Bournemouth have now lost four of their last five league games and are teetering on the Premier League relegation zone.

Eddie Howe's side host fellow strugglers Newcastle next week but the Cherries boss is not singling out the fixture as a must-win game for his team heading into the international break.

"They are all big games," he said.

"You can't turn anywhere without another big one coming, we need to get used to that. We are looking forward to this game as much has any other.

"We know we need points but we also need good performances. We need to put that first half to bed and certainly learn from it."

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