Steven Davis believes the players are enjoying the fact that they are working harder than ever before under the new coaching staff at the club.
Davis feels he is the closest to full sharpness since arriving at Southampton, and is delighted to see the fruits of some hard labour finally develop following the 3-1 win over Manchester City last time out.
“I think the lads might have preferred to have a game the week after that game, but it’s given us a bit of time to work with the manager in training on how he wants us to play, and get some more of his ideas across,” he told Saints Player.
“It just gave everybody a massive boost,” he added of the victory over City. “We’ve played really well and consistently lately and it was nice to see everything come to fruition with three points against one of the top clubs in the league.
“We take a lot of positives from that, but we mustn’t get carried away because if you’re not on top of your game at this level you get punished for mistakes that you make, so we know what we’re capable of and what we have to do to keep that run going.”
Much has been said of the high intensity approach in matches, but Davis revealed that this extends to the training pitch too, and the hard work has reaped benefits already.
“The biggest difference is the intensity he (Pochettino) wants us to play at and how he wants to press teams high up the pitch,” Davis explained.
“It takes a lot of hard work, but if you put the hard work in and get the rewards from it then it’s a big boost and you can see that it’s the right way to try and do things if the players continue to do that.
“Training has been really enjoyable so far with no two sessions the same, so everything is fresh and new for the players which can only be good.
“As you saw from the Man City game we got a lot of joy from playing this way. Collecting the ball high up the pitch puts you in a better position to cause them problems so that’s been enjoyable too, and we just want to keep that going now.”
Today’s match at St James’ Park might be a new experience for some of the squad, but Davis is familiar with the surroundings, and relishes the lively atmosphere expected of a sell-out crowd on Tyneside.
“We had a really positive result against them at St Mary’s so we’d like to try and emulate that at their place with a performance that will get us three points again,” he said.
“It’ll be another tough game because the two of us are in a position where we need the points as much as each other, so it’s game we’ll look forward to.
“Without doubt it’s a big game for both teams, as every game will be between now and the end of the season, but it’s important that we go up there and we try to put on that level of performance that we’ve shown previously and hopefully that will be enough to get us three points again.
“They’ve brought in some top quality players which has given them that little bit of a boost to the squad and they’ll be looking to end the season strongly like ourselves, so it will be a good game to play in, it’s a great stadium to play in and one we’re looking forward to.”