Aston Villa midfielder Ashley Westwood insists the team are ready to make a run up the table, with the mood around the training ground lifted since ending their six-game losing streak.
After two relegation-threatened seasons under Paul Lambert, Villa got off to hot start to this term, taking 10 points from their opening four league games to sit second in the table for a time.
Their form has since fallen into a downward spiral, however, suffering six straight defeats, before some heroics from goalkeeper Brad Guzan helped seal a much-needed point in the previous weekend’s 0-0 draw at West Ham United.
Nevertheless, with the side currently preparing to face in-form Southampton on Monday night in their first match back after the international break, Westwood believes he and his teammates can build on the result at Upton Park to cause on upset.
"West Ham were on a good run but we went there and picked up a good, valuable point. We showed plenty of character,” he told the club’s official website.
"It will the same kind of test on Monday. They are in great form. They lost a lot of players in the summer but the lads they have brought in have started the season excellently.
"To stop the losing streak was important for us. We certainly didn't want to go into the international break without something.
"We picked up a very good point. It gave us a lift. And training since - these past two weeks - has been brilliant.
"I am sure the internationals coming back on Thursday will only add to that. We want to stop that fine run of theirs."
Having sealed a £2 million move from Crewe Alexandra in September 2012, one of Westwood’s first experiences in a Villa shirt was against the Saints as a second-half substitute in a 4-1 defeat, and the 24-year-old stresses he’s come a long way since that wake-up call.
"I didn't enjoy the best of times at Southampton and it certainly opened my eyes to what Premier League football is all about,” he said.
"I have grown massively as a player since that game. You're training with top-quality players day in and day out and playing against some of the best players in the world on matchdays.
"You will only improve and progress - and I feel I have grown as a player. I went to keep improving too - there's a lot more to come from me."