Southampton captain Dean Hammond has revealed the club were always confident of challenging at the top of the Championship this season.
The Saints, who were only promoted from League One last season, are currently leading the second tier.
Hammond told BBC Radio Solent: "We'd had a successful season last year and the belief was that we could do well.
"We knew we had momentum with us and we knew if we could start well we could surprise a few people."
The 28-year-old is set to make his 100th league start for the club when they take on Crystal Palace at St Mary's on Boxing Day.
Despite having only recorded one win from their last five outings the ex-Brighton and Colchester man does not think the squad is in need of re-enforcements in the January transfer window.
"The competition we have for places here is really, really strong.
"Obviously there's always going to be speculation but we've got a tight-knit squad and everyone's working hard," he continued.
Saints currently lie one point clear of West Ham in the Championship table following last weekend's 1-1 draw at Portsmouth.