Southampton adapting to Premier League says Adam Lallana

 

Southampton captain Adam Lallana believes the promoted side are beginning feel at home in the Barclays Premier League after what was a nightmare start to the campaign.

Saints ended a seven-year top-flight exile thanks to back-to-back promotions under the stewardship of manager Nigel Adkins.

That reign looked in jeopardy heading into last weekend's trip to QPR after a miserable start in which they collected just five points from their opening 11 matches.

However, skipper Lallana believes Saints have turned the corner after winning 3-1 at Loftus Road and then defeating Newcastle 2-0 yesterday.

"We had a tough start and we feel we should have probably been a little higher up the league," he said.

"We've led in a lot of games this year but just not seen it out. We are adjusting to the standard and it is showing by the results we're getting.

"We will just keep working hard and learning still. It is the first season for a lot of us in the top flight but we'll come to terms with it."

Lallana scored the opener in yesterday's defeat of Newcastle and was involved in the second, playing though Jason Puncheon to cross for Gaston Ramirez.

The latter became Southampton's record signing when he joined from Serie A outfit Bologna for upwards of £12million.

Lallana believes Ramirez is already starting to pay back his lofty price tag and predicts there is even more to come from the new boy.

"We started a little bit sloppily in the first 10 minutes but when we got into the game and found our feet we were creating chances," he said. "It could have been four or five goals.

"My goal came as Clyney (Nathaniel Clyne) had a shot from distance but then the composure Ramirez showed to set me up was brilliant.

"He is a top-class player and the more he finds his feet he will take this league by storm.

"It is a pleasure to play with him and he brings out the best in the other lads, like Rickie Lambert, Jason Puncheon and myself.

"We're learning off him. He has great ability, that continental flair."

The Southampton frontline has been working to great effect all season and their shaky defence is at last showing signs of life.

Having conceded 28 goals in their opening 10 matches, the backline has only been breached twice in the last three matches - a sturdiness epitomised by their first clean sheet yesterday.

"It was a good win all round and if you keep clean sheets you'll pick up points and win games," Lallana added.

"We haven't done that bar that (game) and it is the start of a big week for us.

"We've got Norwich on Wednesday night here [and then Liverpool away] so to back it up with another three points and that will take us further away from the drop."

While Saints will be looking to make it three wins on the bounce in midweek, Newcastle manager Alan Pardew is hoping for a response at Stoke.

"It was tough for us," he said.

"I thought the intensity of Southampton was hard for us to cope with.

"There is no doubt we're lacking a bit of confidence and that showed in the first half.

"We came out in the second half with renewed spirit and should have really equalised, although perhaps not deservedly.

"But we're struggling and really up against it in terms of numbers and it is difficult.

"I think confidence is low due to results. We've conceded first on a number of occasions and that's costly for us in the Premier League.

"At this level that is a huge factor and Southampton deserved to win. Really we haven't got anything to argue about."

PA

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