Fonte revelling in Saints success

  • Last Updated: April 27 2014, 23:13 BST

Jose Fonte believes there is a "very good thing" happening at Southampton right now and is determined to help them into the record books.

Jose Fonte (right): Thrilled with Saints season so far
Jose Fonte (right): Thrilled with Saints season so far

This has been a fine second season back in the Barclays Premier League for Saints, whose possession football and focus on homegrown talent has brought points as well as admirers.

Saturday's deserved 2-0 defeat of top-four hopefuls Everton saw Mauricio Pochettino's side strengthen their place in eighth and equal the club's record Premier League points tally of 52.

There are suggestions that the Southampton set-up could be broken up this summer but Fonte - a key member of the squad since the League One days - is only focused on ending the season on a high.

"We always want to be the best and now we equalled the record and now we will try to beat that," the Portuguese centre-back said.

"I am pleased because it was a tough game. They are a very, very good team. They are fighting for the Champions League so we knew it would be hard but I think it was our day.

"We completely dominated the game, were better than them and showed that we have a very good thing going on here, a very strong team.

"It is pleasing to get the three points again because we knew if we won we would equal the record of points.

"Always to win at home in front of your supporters is pleasing, but most of all for ourselves because I think we deserved the win the way we have performed this year."

In truth, the 2-0 scoreline flattered under-performing Everton at St Mary's, where the match was settled by own goals from Antolin Alcaraz and Seamus Coleman.

That does, though, mean no Saints player has scored in their last three matches - a run that coincides with the anterior cruciate ligament injury to top scorer Jay Rodriguez.

"I think obviously we miss Jay Rodriguez a little bit," Fonte said. "He is our cutting edge.

"We miss Gaston Ramirez a bit as well with his final passes, he is very good on that.

"Because of that Rickie Lambert was playing as a number 10, not as a number nine so it is a little bit difficult.

"It was a little bit difficult to get shots on target but we had crosses and if you put the ball in the box then there can always be mistakes or a goal."

Those mistakes from Alcaraz and Coleman have left Everton's hopes of a top-four finish looking remote.

Arsenal now have the opportunity to move four points clear with victory over Newcastle, although manager Roberto Martinez believes the Toffees still have a chance of sneaking into the Champions League.

Everton end the season with a home clash with Manchester City and a trip to Hull - matches they are hoping left-back Leighton Baines will be available for.

Martinez is already without eight players through injury and saw the England international forced off towards the end of the defeat at St Mary's.

"We will assess Leighton Baines and see if it's a serious injury or not," the Spaniard said.

"He was feeling his knee and his calf a little bit, we will assess him but it shouldn't be too bad."

Baines' injury saw Luke Garbutt come on for his Premier League debut at Southampton, where the 20-year-old had started on the bench alongside teenagers Ryan Ledson and Tyias Browning.

Martinez is confident such players have a big future ahead of them at Everton, yet is also well aware of the need to strengthen the squad this summer.

The loan deals for Romelu Lukaku, Gerard Deulofeu, Gareth Barry and Lacina Traore all expire at the end of the season, while Everton will soon have to balance domestic and European exertions.

"It's not about improving - it's about increasing," Martinez said. "When you're playing in Europe you need to have another six or seven and that's the reality and we will do that - it's not an issue.

"Every summer is busy. We signed 10 players in the previous two windows and that's what you expect from window to window.

"I never worry about losing players. It's the opposite - I get excited about bringing new players in. You need fresh blood.

"We've got incredible senior players at this club. You've got Tim Howard, Phil Jagielka, Leighton Baines, Leon Osman, James McCarthy - those players hold the dressing room together.

"We need fresh talent. Fresh additions help the team."


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