Fonte: Saints must turn on style
Southampton's Jose Fonte knows the pressure is on when Reading visit on Saturday - but insists the south-coast club will not sacrifice their attractive style in search of victory.
- Related Content
Both sides have struggled since securing automatic promotion from the npower Championship last season and sit in the bottom three heading into the St Mary's clash.
Saints are a place, and three points, better off and know that victory could propel them out of the relegation zone.
The last time Saints faced a fellow struggler they beat QPR 3-1 in west London and Fonte believes such experience stands them in good stead.
"It is a massive game for both of us," the Portuguese defender said. "We are aware of the pressure.
"It is going to be an energetic game, tough for both of us, but we look forward to it.
"We have been preparing ourselves very well this week and we have our game plan and we will try and win the game on Saturday.
"It is a lot of pressure [in these kind of games]. You have to try and stay calm and know your game plan well, know your job.
"You know what you have to do and as a team, work hard to get the better of them. It is as simple as that."
Sometimes the quality of football can be sacrificed in such high-pressured matches, but that is not something Fonte expects from Southampton.
"The attitude has to be 100 per cent but our philosophy is to play attractive football, to play a passing game," he said.
"That's what we've been doing for the last three years. We have to do continue that. That's what we train every week to do.
"The players that we have they like to dribble, they like to pass it around and create chances like that, although we always have the option of going direct to Rickie Lambert, which is a great way out for us.
"But we like to play attractive football, as I said, and pass it around so we will try and do that."
That attacking mentality has seen Saints score freely since the start of the season, but things have not been so straightforward at the back.
Nigel Adkins' side shipped 28 goals in their opening 10 matches but the backline has improved vastly recently, conceding only four in the past five games.
"We've been working hard as a team to stop that," Fonte said. "The fact we haven't changed the players a lot helps because we start to gel more and understand each other more.
"We are very pleased that we have been stopping the goals. As a team, we've been doing well and we want to keep it that way."
It has been a steep, and often harsh, learning experience for centre-back Fonte, who pinpoints his experience with Saints in League One as helping him make the step up.
"There was many games that stand out," he said. "Dagenham and Redbridge away in January is very hard.
"We went there with the right game plan and won. Wycombe away was hard, too. They are tough grounds to go.
"It makes you grow as a person and as a player. It is a different experience.
"It's nothing like the Premier League, that's for sure. It made me a better player. We also know that we don't want to be in League One.
"If we want to keep playing in the Premier League and in the best stadiums against the best players in the world, we need to work very hard. We don't want to go back."