Mauricio Pellegrino hopes that Saints’ 1-0 FA Cup third round win over Fulham can prove a springboard to Premier League success.

Saints ended a run of nine games with a victory as they defeated their Championship opponents at Craven Cottage thanks to a first half goal from James Ward-Prowse.

Pellegrino and his men were in desperate need of a win after a demoralising defeat to Crystal Palace in midweek, and they got it as the Saints boss fielded a strong team which saw them into Monday night’s fourth round draw.

The next target is Watford next Saturday, with Saints aiming to build the momentum to help them away from the bottom three.

Pellegrino said: “It’s an important result for us because we move one step forward in this competition but also can hopefully help us to use this game as a base to improve every single week.

“The team on the pitch were really solid, managing the ball a little bit less than usual but Fulham is a good team technically.

“We looked a threat on the counter attack and could have scored the second goal maybe earlier.

“A good game and we compete well from the beginning until the end.”

There has been an argument that in the battle for Premier League survival Saints could do without the distraction of the FA Cup, but Pellegrino disagrees.

“For me it’s important because I use this game to move the first round but also to use as preparation to improve in the next step,” he reflected.

“After we will see what we need in the future.

“Obviously the Premier League is the competition number one because we survive with the Premier League.

“I love this competition (FA Cup), always when I was abroad this competition is classical for everyone, traditional, I want to move forward and try to arrive at the end.”

With the comparative luxury of a week between fixtures, Saints now turn their attentions back to the transfer market and trying to progress a deal for a new signing.

“Hopefully we can bring somebody that can help us to be stronger,” said Pellegrino.

“This is our target now and we know that the market is difficult and we are working on that.”

Pellegrino was inevitably asked again about Saints target Theo Walcott, but wasn’t giving anything further away.

“I have been talking about him,” said Pellegrino.

“It’s a good player but in the market with the negotiation I imagine this player will have a lot of possibilities and it’s not easy.”