Top four still long-term target for Lambert

A top-four finish may have got away from Southampton this season, but Rickie Lambert insists it remains a long-term target.

After starting the Premier League campaign well, Mauricio Pochettino's men have slipped into mid-table and currently sit 18 points below fourth-placed Arsenal.

Lambert, though, insists that 2013-14 has been a good learning curve for everyone at the club and is confident the team will become more consistent next term. 

"We aimed for fourth this season, and people laughed at us, but they didn't laugh at us straightaway when we were second, they waited until we dropped off a bit," the Southampton striker told the club's official website.

"Our desire is to get into the top four and that's the way the club has been run in the past four years.

"That's the vision the players have and it's the one that the club has, so for me it's what the players still want going forward and it's what we're expecting to be honest."

Lambert's own form has mirrored Southampton's fortunes as he netted six goals in the first half of the Premier League campaign, with only three since January.

He added: "We definitely believe that we can finish above teams like Newcastle. 

"It's up to us to push on."