Southampton boss Adkins: We must beat Aston Villa

The 47-year-old remained positive about the impact new-boy Gaston Ramirez can have, while Daniel Fox suggested they need to show more character and believe in their ability

Nigel Adkins has admitted that Southampton must beat Aston Villa at home on Saturday, after losing their opening four Premier League fixtures.

The newly promoted side were handed a tough start to their return to the top flight, having played Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal already.

Although they put in respectable displays against both Manchester clubs, a poor performance in against Wigan at home resulted in another loss before being thumped 6-1 by the Gunners at the weekend - however Adkins is confident they will bounce back strongly in a game they must win against Paul Lambert's men.

5/2 Southampton are 5/2 with Bet365 to finish bottom of the Premier League this season

"It was a very poor scoreline having come away from home," the 47-year-old told Saints Player.

"Everyone knew that the first four fixtures were going to be challenging, but we want to win games of football. We'll have a good week's training and get everyone together – there are no hiding places so we'll stand up and be counted.

"We've got some good additions who have come and joined us, and we are a very positive football club. St Mary's will be bouncing next week because it's a game we've obviously got to go and win."

Record signing Gaston Ramirez, signed from Bologna for a reported £12 million, was singled out from praise by his new manager as Adkins revealed the Uruguay international had only participated in one training session with his new team-mates since returning from international duty.

 "Gaston Ramirez came on having been in Uruguay and only trained with us for the first time last night, but you could see the players' eyes light up with the things he was doing in training,” he explains.

"That was really pleasing because he did ever-so-well. He's got undoubted ability and a wand of left foot - he can pick out a pass and has an eye for goal."

Saints' left-back Daniel Fox – who netted the late consolation - was also disheartened with the thrashing, stressing that they need to show more character to hang onto leads after going ahead against both Manchester clubs earlier in the season.

“It’s disappointing the manner in which we were beaten,” the 26-year-old said.

“I think we needed to show a bit more steel and a bit more character after going three goals down and especially at a place like the Emirates because it’s always going to be tough.

“You can go on about getting punished and seeing games out, but we should have held on against Manchester United the other week when we were 2-1 up, no matter who was on the pitch.

“We need to show more character and believe that we can play at this level because we are good enough to be here."