Southampton boss Nigel Adkins refused to get carried away after his side recorded a 3-1 win at Bournemouth to leapfrog the Cherries and go fourth in the table.
Lauri Dalla Valle fired Bournemouth ahead but Lee Barnard headed Saints level and captain Dean Hammond put them in front. Rickie Lambert made the game safe with his 16th goal of the season three minutes from time before Saints had Oscar Gobern dismissed late on.
Adkins said: "There is still a long way to go. We have about a quarter of the season remaining and still have to play a lot of good teams. It is really tight at the top of the league with only a couple of points separating all of the top six."
He added: "I am pleased with the three points. The game was very lively, which you would expect for a derby of this magnitude, but I did feel we let them into the game too much at times.
"This is the time of the season where it starts to get a little bit interesting, and we still have some really big games ahead of us."
Bournemouth manager Lee Bradbury felt the result was harsh on his side as their automatic promotion hopes were dealt a blow by a second successive loss.
Yet the Cherries boss admitted he is facing his first severe test in the hot-seat, and said: "I think the scoreline flattered them a little bit, and we deserved something out of the game.
"We scored a good goal, but they scored three very well-taken goals.
"There is no crisis at the club. We've only lost two games in a row, and there is still a lot to play for. I will need to bring the boys in on Monday and pick their spirits up because they are very disappointed at the moment.
"This is my first test as Bournemouth manager and it will be a very big learning curve for me."
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