Belfast Telegraph

Saints can go marching on - Davis

Steven Davis believes Southampton's growing self-belief is behind their superb start to the season.

Saints were widely tipped for a season of struggle after losing leading lights Adam Lallana, Luke Shaw, Rickie Lambert and Dejan Lovren in the summer, as well as manager Mauricio Pochettino.

But things have veered wildly from the predicted script, with Ronald Koeman taking a revamped squad to the dizzy heights of second in the Barclays Premier League.

The numbers are compelling, with Saturday's 1-0 win at Hull leaving them on seven wins from 10 games, with six clean sheets and the meanest defence in the league by five goals.

And Northern Ireland captain Davis thinks the positivity in the Saints dressing room is a big factor in their early success.

"There's a lot of belief here and winning games breeds that confidence," he said.

"We have a lot of belief in ourselves because we know we have quality and that we're capable of beating any team on any given day.

"It's all about consistency now and we've had that since the start of the season. Whether we can keep that going until the end of the campaign is the question we need to answer.

"To be honest we're following the old cliche, just taking every game as it comes. We approach every match on its own merit but we're desperate to keep the momentum we've built up and keep that winning mentality."

At 29 former Rangers skipper Davis is enjoying his best run of form in English football, putting spells at Aston Villa and Fulham in the shade with his high energy displays.

He has also had a wonderful start to Euro 2016 qualifying with Northern Ireland, who top Group F after three successive wins.

"It's been an unbelievable start to the season for myself and you can't often say that in football," he said.

"I'm enjoying every moment and long may it continue."

European football with Southampton now appears a very real possibility as does the once improbable notion of experiencing a first European Championships with his country.

And if he does reach France, he may not be the only one to be making the journey from St Mary's.

Fraser Forster seems a good bet to travel as one of three England goalkeepers, while Roy Hodgson cannot fail to have been impressed by Nathaniel Clyne and Ryan Bertrand on a rare visit to the KC Stadium at the weekend.

"I think all the English lads that are playing for us are doing well," said Davis.

"I'm sure Roy has to be looking at them because we're playing well as a team and individually they're doing well too. Nathaniel and Ryan are in with a shout hopefully and I'd be delighted if they got a call."

Hull have had a mixed campaign to date and have won just once in eight matches since the start of September.

Three points against strugglers Burnley on Saturday would send them into the international break in good spirits, but boss Steve Bruce admits it has been a tough run.

"We knew it was a difficult October for us and it's a difficult November too," he said.

"We've got Burnley, then it's Tottenham then Manchester United. It's a difficult period for us.

"We've picked up a couple of points but we've gifted one or two points away as well.

"They're all big but the huge wins are the teams around you. We did particularly well against those teams last year so let's hope we can do the same again."

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