Rickie Lambert believes Southampton's win at Aston Villa may be crucial

Rickie Lambert: Scorer of Southampton's winner at Aston Villa

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Southampton striker Rickie Lambert believes the Saints have now found the key to surviving in the Premier League.

Lambert netted the winner from the penalty spot in Saturday's 1-0 victory at Aston Villa for Southampton's second away win of the season over their relegation rivals, following the 3-1 success at QPR in November.

The three points took Saints up to 15th place in the Premier League with 21 points from 21 matches.

"Maybe two or three months ago we might have buckled in a match like that. It goes to show how far the lads have come," said Lambert.

"When we got promoted, we knew we didn't have much Premier League experience in the squad, only a couple who had played Premier League.

"We knew it was going to take us a while to get used to it. Now I feel we are getting used to it and improving every game.

"We still know there is a long way to go. We haven't done anything yet, but doing well against the teams around us is important.

"Everyone knows how important those games are and to get six points against a team like Villa, who are around you in the table, is massive and will go a long way to helping us at the end of the season."