Martin: We feel so connected to this club

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Russell Martin spoke of the connection he and his coaching staff feel to Southampton after signing a new three-year contract with the club.

The Saints boss and his backroom team have all extended their deals following an incredible debut season at St Mary's, which saw them guide the club out of the Championship and back into the Premier League at the first attempt.

For Martin, he believes it has been a perfect match so far.

"I think honestly, for where I'm at as a young manager, the support I've been given from everyone in the club, the supporters, the staff, the owners, the executive team, I'm so grateful for that," he said.

"When you feel that and you feel connected to something and to people and to what the club is now standing for and what we're going to represent, or how we're going to show ourselves in the Premier League now, it's just really a beautiful feeling that we feel so connected to it and so proud of what we've done over the last year.

"So the job now is to continue building, become better, become stronger and hopefully the commitment we've shown and the club's shown to doing it in that way will help the players understand that we really are going to do it in our way."

As his team grew throughout a dramatic 2023/24 season, so too does Martin believe that he himself developed.

"I feel like last year was the toughest year I've ever had professionally and personally in many, many ways, but I feel so much better for it," he said. "I feel better as a coach, as a person, as a manager. I feel like I improved and there's still so much improvement to make.

"I still make so many mistakes, but I'm really curious, I'm really willing to learn and I think the people here know that I'm willing to listen to opinion and to really discuss that, and I think everyone knows my only intention here is to be the best I can possibly be. Same with the coaches, to give it everything I possibly have to this team, to this club, to the people.

"I want to keep growing, I want to keep improving. This year is going to be a huge challenge in the Premier League, the first time I've been there as a as a coach and a manager. I'm so excited about that, I can't wait for that, and I think last year has prepared us in such a brilliant way."

Martin added: "Now we're going to go into a completely different challenge where there will be some tough times and tough moments for sure, but let's maintain the excitement that we feel and let's maintain the vision of the team and the club and the way we are going to do things.

"We are going to do it in our way off the pitch and on the pitch for sure, and the message is we just have to keep being better at it and for everyone just to keep sticking with it through the tough moments as they did last season."