(Reuters) - Relegation-threatened Southampton must treat Saturday’s Premier League match against Bournemouth like a European Championship final and give it their all to get full points, defender Cedric Soares says.
Southampton have won just one of their last 21 league games and lie in 18th position, four points adrift of safety with four matches remaining.
Portugal international Soares was part of the team that won Euro 2016 and said he was going to give as much importance to the game against Bournemouth.
“This is for me like playing the final of the European Cup. This is a big moment and we need to fight,” Soares told the Daily Echo.
“...we can win with motivation but it’s not just about this. It’s about intelligence in how we approach the game and this is up to the big players and to who has personality in these big moments.
“But, definitely, this one is a crucial moment and mathematically it’s not but mentality-wise it’s very important. I think we need to face it like it’s a final, where you do whatever you have to do to win.”
Soares, 26, believes Southampton are improving under Mark Hughes despite their poor results.
“To be honest, I think we are growing every week and the group is staying more together, even if we don’t win,” he said.
“We are understanding better the system, understanding the new ideas of the new manager... We can see it happening, it’s just being a little more experienced in some moments.
“We have been naive a bit this season, made mistakes, we’ve been missing that extra bit.”
Bournemouth are 11th in the table and are winless in their last four league matches, ahead of the south coast derby.
Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru