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Football | Barclays Premier League

First clean sheet has Saints smiling



The figures speak for themselves. With 30 goals conceded in 13 league matches Southampton are wading through the season with the Premier League's leakiest defence.

A second consecutive win on Sunday lifted the Saints out of the relegation zone, but it was their first league clean sheet of the season earned in the 2-0 beating of Newcastle United which put a smile on the face of manager Nigel Adkins.

"It was good for all the team," Adkins told Southampton's TV channel Saints Player. "I thought we played well for the large majority of the season but we have been punished defensively."

With seven points from a possible nine in their last three games, Southampton clambered above Reading and Aston Villa into 17th position. Queens Park Rangers are still rooted at the bottom, winless and with only four points.

On the flip side, Southampton have hit the net 20 times this season - more than any other club in the bottom half of the league.

Those figures in the credit column speak of the confidence and fluidity with which Southampton are playing in their first season back in the top flight.

"We're starting to find our feet so we're learning off each other and playing well. We're creating chances, which is exactly what we want to achieve," Saints skipper Adam Lallana said.

"It would have been nice to get a couple more goals because we hit the woodwork three times and Jay Rodriguez had a goal disallowed at the end.

"We've kept a clean sheet, so it was an all-round great display."

Lallana, who opened the scoring in the win over Newcastle, looked to midweek when Saints welcome Norwich to St. Mary's Stadium.

"We've got back-to-back wins now, and we want a third on Wednesday night. We've got a big chance to pull a bit further away from the drop zone - and we want to take that chance.

"I feel the lads believe a lot more and our confidence is showing."

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