Southampton engine-roomer Jack Cork has pinpointed the side’s newfound resilience as the key factor behind their recent good form.
The Londoner – who represented Great Britain at the Olympics last summer – believes the players have a different mentality to when they began the season.
Speaking after the 0-0 draw at Swansea, he said: “If we’d played this game at the start of the season, we might not have weather that storm.
“In the first 15 minutes we didn’t really know what hit us at times."
Although Mauricio Pochettino’s appointment was widely questioned at the time, Saints have gone six matches unbeaten and sit just three points off the top half.
West Brom are the next visitors to St. Mary’s, and Cork believes there is unfinished business with the Baggies after November’s clash – which Nigel Adkins’ side lost 2-0.
“It’s a good way for us to be going at this stage of the season,” he said. “We owe them a bit for how it went at their place, so it’ll be a good one to get three points in.”
The Chelsea academy product has featured in 100 matches for the south coast club despite being just 23-years-old.
He recalled how down the squad were after the match at the Hawthorns before Christmas, but implied a transition in mindset explains recent impressive performances.
“They’ve done brilliantly to pick themselves up and go on the way we have – we’re in a completely different place and a different mentality to how we were then,” he observed.
A win against West Brom would leave Pochettino’s men only three points adrift of their Midlands opponents – an almost unthinkable scenario after their first encounter.