Rodriguez salutes Saints start

  • Last Updated: January 11 2013, 14:00 GMT

Jay Rodriguez has been impressed by the way Southampton have taken to Premier League life even if his own season has been frustrating.

Jay Rodriguez: Not started as many games as he would have liked

Southampton are back in the top flight after a seven-year absence and are starting to impress after a difficult start to the campaign, hovering just above the relegation zone.

On Saturday Nigel Adkins takes his side to fellow strugglers Aston Villa, whose recent problems were epitomised by Tuesday's shock 3-1 defeat to Bradford in the Capital One Cup semi-finals.

Southampton will be looking to compound matters and jump above the midlanders with victory - a result Rodriguez believes his side are more than capable of.

"We have a inner confidence and team spirit so we can go to places and get a good result," the striker said. "I am sure that we will.

"We are working hard every day in training, getting the right stuff on board getting ready for the games.

"I think we will go into the game with inner confidence.

"We've done very well this season and I think we have been unlucky on certain occasions not to get the three points.

"I feel we have got a self-belief, a team spirit, and feel we are going to go forward.

"We are picking up points on the road as well, which is better. We know we need to keep working hard, keep focused and hopefully keep moving up the table."

Rodriguez joined Southampton from Burnley in June for what was at the time a club record fee of £6million, but he has only made nine Premier League starts since the move.

"It has been a learning curve playing against better players and better teams," he said.

"It has been a little bit frustrating as I've not had as many games as I would have like to have played.

"But all I can do is work hard and just carry on trying to improve as a player."

The 23-year-old would have done his first-team chances no harm with a fine opening goal in last weekend's FA Cup clash with Chelsea, who came from behind to run out easy 5-1 winners.

Southampton face Chelsea again in a rearranged league fixture on Wednesday but Rodriguez is confident the heavy loss will not impact on their form in the league, where they have lost just two of their past 10 games.

"I think we are still confident in ourselves," he said.

"The week's training has been hard but good. I think we can take a lot of positives from the first half as well.

"Obviously Chelsea are a great side but I don't think will look too much on that. We'll look forward to the game on Saturday."

Rodriguez will be hoping for a start at Villa Park, while left-back Luke Shaw is all but guaranteed to be in the 11.

The 17-year-old ended months of speculation by yesterday committing his long-term future to the club and Press Association Sport understands he will pen a five-year deal when he turns 18 on July 12, 2013.

"That is brilliant - it is brilliant for Luke and brilliant for the club," Rodriguez said.

"He is a great player and a great lad. It is a nice thing to bring the youth through the system and obviously it shows how good the youth-team players are.

"As you can see, they have brought some great players through the academy and it is nice to keep hold of Luke Shaw. I think he is a real asset.

"He is a great player and a good lad with a good attitude."


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