Southampton captain Adam Lallana believes his side should aim to emulate last season’s achievements by Sunday’s opponents Swansea City.
Michael Laudrup's side achieved a top-half finish in the 2012-13 Premier League campaign and won the League Cup, qualifying for Europe in the process, while at the same time impressing neutrals with their attractive style of play.
And Southampton’s excellent start to the season, which sees them in seventh place after six games, has encouraged Lallana to believe that Mauricio Pochettino’s men can achieve similar success.
"(Swansea) have had a great, great few years," Lallana told The Southern Daily Echo.
"They won the cup last year and they play great football, and the style of play is quite similar to us.
"They're definitely a team that we should aspire to. It’s credit to the players they’ve got there, and Laudrup’s doing a great job.”
Lallana, who was playing in the third tier for Southampton three years ago, emphasised that the best is yet to come from his side.
"We've all had a good pre-season and we've started to play with each other now for a little while, and we're starting to find out different aspects of each other's games and I think that's going to grow as the season goes on," he added.
"I think we've got the perfect blend. We've made shrewd additions, we've still got a good group of players that have been here since the League One days that know the club and it's just a great working environment with the blend we've got, so it's working really well."
The academy graduate still hopes to follow in the footsteps of club-mate Rickie Lambert and force his way into the reckoning for Roy Hodgson's England squad before the FIFA World Cup.
"There's always a chance, if I'm playing regularly for my club and playing well then you never know," he said.
"Hodgson's not scared to pick the younger players – (Ross) Barkley, (Tom) Cleverley, (Raheem) Sterling – he gives everyone a chance, and obviously big Rickie, who's done ever so well and got the goals for England and helped them in the last couple of internationals."
|Coach: M. Pochettino|
for P. Osvaldo 58'
for R. Lambert 68'
for S. Davis 88'
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