Southampton boss Ronald Koeman claimed this season was turning into a “great” one after his men earned a 1-0 away win at Swansea.
Shane Long headed the second-half winner as they earned their sixth straight clean sheet to move into sixth spot in the Premier League.
It was Southampton’s fifth win in six games and “well deserved”, according to a delighted Koeman.
“You hope for that kind of performance. First of all, it was good organisation and we defended well,” said Koeman.
“For sure, we are totally confident in our defence and we know we have the players who can create chances. It was a fantastic performance.
“It was a well deserved three points. We have a great run at the moment. It’s a pity we have a break.
“But it’s becoming a great season for us.”
The south-coast club have moved to within a point of fifth-placed Manchester United and seven of Manchester City in fourth.
And Saints boss Koeman admits their ambitions have broadened in the last few weeks, with a top-four spot to qualify for the Champions League in their sights.
“If Leicester can win the title, then we can finish fourth or fifth,” the Dutchman said.
“We are only one point below Manchester United after today and my team is looking very comfortable.
“We had a difficult start to the season and a difficult period in December, but we are back fighting and looking to finish as high as possible in the table.”
Southampton’s rise has been based on an impregnable defence which has not conceded a goal in six games.
That run has coincided with the return of Fraser Forster after the England goalkeeper missed 10 months with a serious knee injury.
“We didn’t play so well in the first half but we played better football in the second half,” Koeman said.
“We scored a great goal and we showed a great attitude.
“It was a good cross and good positioning in the penalty area for the goal.
“Shane had a free header but he had still had to score.”