Southampton's leaky defence, which has shipped 30 goals in only 12 English Premier League matches, is finally finding some shape, says manager Nigel Adkins.
The Saints beat hosts Queens Park Rangers - the only club below them in England's top flight - 3-1 at the weekend, and although they failed to keep a clean sheet, the much-needed win prompted a volley of optimism from under-fire Adkins.
"I think we have a good shape about ourselves from a defensive point of view," Adkins said.
"Maya [Yoshida] and José [Fonte] are forming a partnership together and it takes a period of time for everybody."
Signed from the Dutch league in the off-season, Yoshida has looked unsteady at the heart of Southampton's defence, and his confidence appears to taken a knock judging by a ponderous performance for Japan against Oman in a World Cup qualifier last week.
Adkins, though, is hailing Saturday's victory at Loftus Road as a turning point for the struggling Saints.
"The way the supporters were and the way the players were, we're together at this football club - and that's a big statement, I think," he told the club's website.
"There's a determination about [the players] with a growing maturity which you could see out there through young players who are responding to the challenge in a really positive way.
"[It] is very pleasing for the future of this football club. We're growing with our performances and there's a good belief about ourselves which is important."
Southampton remain second-bottom of the 20-team league, with eight points from their 12 matches - four more than QPR, but a point adrift of Aston Villa and Reading.
Manchester City lead the table, their 28 points one more that neighbours United's 27.
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