But with three of their next four matches at St Mary’s against clubs above them in the Premier League – Newcastle, West Bromwich Albion and Burnley – Southampton can make great strides between now and the next international break.
And with Everton having made a faltering start, the feeling at St Mary’s is that a seventh-placed finish could still be on given a good run, with momentum the key.
“It is an important period,” said Ward-Prowse. “We want to make St Mary’s a fortress and a place where we know we are either going to win the game or have a chance of winning the game, so those home games are important.
“It’s a long, long season, and the table is not going to stay as it is now seven games in.
“It’s a long season and there will be ups and downs. Every season I have been a part of so far there has been good times and there’s been bad times.
“But the spirit of the players in the club means I’m sure we will be there or thereabouts at the end of the season.
“The players, the manager, the infrastructure of the club, the facilities, it’s all geared around European football and we are desperate to get back there for sure.”
Ward-Prowse knows how vital putting a run together over the next set of matches could be to the remainder of the campaign.
“Momentum is key,” he told the Daily Echo. “In any sport it’s very important and if you can pick up a good result coming back after the international break, that can really kickstart your season and get your confidence flowing around the players.
“We have proven last year that we can perform against the big teams and we can pick up results, so it’s not writing those games off at all.
“But we do have to make the most of our home form and make St Mary’s a fortress.”
Preston are reportedly weighing up whether or not to make a fourth offer for Peterborough United left-back Andrew Hughes.