Southampton defender Cedric Soares has told the Daily Echo that he has treated every match like a cup final this season.
The Portugal international arrived at St. Mary’s Stadium last summer from Sporting Lisbon for a fee of €6.5 million and has settled well in his first campaign in English football.
The 24-year-old right-back has become one of the first names on the teamsheet for manager Ronald Koeman, with the regularity of the Saints’ back-four spreading confidence through the south-coast side.
Southampton enjoyed their best run of form in the New Year with five wins and a draw coinciding with the club recording six consecutive clean sheets.
Currently sitting seventh in the Premier League table, Koeman’s men remain hopeful of achieving European qualification for a second consecutive year.
Soares believes he has improved throughout his maiden season in England and admits he has been impressed by the standard of opposition at all times.
"I grow a lot as a player," he told the Daily Echo.
"It’s a lot of intensity. All the sides have amazing players, every game is like a final for us and for me also, so I feel like I’m better as a player.
"I’m settled down. I came this season, I played until now a lot of games and I feel confident and I look forward also to keep going and keep developing as a player."
He added: “I work hard every day to be in the team. I’m just here to help, so I will keep working hard to be helping Southampton.”