Nathan Jones insists Southampton have time to resurrect their dismal season but admits the club cannot afford to be left to catch up in its quest for Premier League survival.
The Saints are languishing at the foot of the division after Jones’ first top-flight home game as manager ended in a sensational 3-1 defeat to Brighton on Boxing Day.
Southampton will attempt to snap a four-game losing streak in the league against Fulham on Saturday, before hosting fellow strugglers Nottingham Forest on Wednesday.
Jones, who worked just seven weeks after replacing the sacked Ralph Hasenhuttl just before the World Cup, says his team must not allow a poor position to become precarious.
“I think the next game is always vital, you have to recover,” he said.
“You want to bounce back from a loss, you want to bounce back from a poor performance and we’re going to have to do it, we really, really have to do it and we have to do it quickly.
“There is time but we don’t want to leave it week after week trying to chase something. We know that we have to collect results.
“(The Brighton game) wasn’t good enough, we didn’t defend well enough and no matter what we did with the ball, or in spells, in the moments it wasn’t good enough.
“We have to be better than this and in time we will be.”
Winger Samuel Edozie showed flashes of his potential against Brighton to offer Jones some encouragement for the future.
The 19-year-old, signed in the summer from Manchester City, won a penalty for his side and twice came close in his first Premier League start.
Jones believes the teenager, who he brought on from the bench in a 3-1 defeat to Liverpool on 12 November, is an exciting prospect but has stressed the club will require a collective effort to avoid relegation.
“As a purely talented footballer, he’s wonderful,” the Welshman said of Edozie.
“It’s just a shame that when he comes and does things, we’re two or three down and that can’t happen.
“Everyone must participate. I won’t fix every problem, nor will one player.
“It’s a collective here and as a club we have to keep up. That’s not what we do now, the end of May has come where we are.
“If we were out of the bottom three at the end of May we would have had a good time to build because all these players will be better off after spending a year in the Premier League.
“But right now we’re learning hard lessons that are costing us points.”