Southampton boss Ronald Koeman hopes that his side can stay in the top four as the Saints prepare themselves to face Premier League big-guns Manchester City, Arsenal, then Manchester United.
The Champions League chasing side struck late to salvage a 1-1 draw against Aston Villa on Monday night, leaving them two points ahead of third place Man City who they face this coming weekend.
Vila’s Gabriel Agbonlahor rounded Southampton goalkeeper Fraser Forster in the 28th minute to put the Midlands side in the lead, but England right-back Nathaniel Clyne levelled the score-line six minutes from time.
The result ended Southampton’s four-game winning streak, but still leaves them in a strong position seven points above fifth-place Newcastle United.
Prompted whether the Saints can qualify for Europe’s top club competition, Koeman replied Sky Sports: “Yes I think it is possible. I don’t see a lot of other teams that are better than Southampton.
“We have to play better than tonight but everybody knows the Premier League is a battle every game and there are big teams who are struggling. If we keep going, keep the spirit and character in the team that we showed today, then I think it is possible.”
The St. Mary’s outfit are however set to face the league’s top sides in the coming fixtures, but the Dutch manager is looking forward to the challenge hoping his squad can prove they can match with the best.
“We didn’t reach the level we can reach tonight and we need that to be competitive against City on Sunday,” he said. “We are facing three big teams but every game is a difficult battle. Maybe Villa, with some key players injured, were more dangerous.”
Southampton will host champions Manchester City on Sunday, November 30.