Club captain Kelvin Davis says Southampton’s 2014/15 fixture list presents them with an opportunity to better last season’s superb start.
Saints open with a trip to last year’s runners-up, Liverpool, before four games against sides who finished below the team last season plus a home fixture against newly-promoted Queens Park Rangers.
And, while keen not to underestimate any of next season’s opponents, Davis was satisfied with the team’s early-season scheduling.
He told saintsfc.co.uk: “The first scan that I and my family do is to see who you’ve got in the first game first game, who you’ve got on Boxing Day and who you’ve got on the last day of the season
“The second scan involves looking at your first six games and assessing what our opportunity is and what we might get from them.
“It’s a fantastic opener – away at Liverpool – then, after that, I look at the next five games and think that there’s an opportunity for us.
“If we get ourselves right from from the first of July to then, I think we’ve got an opportunity to put ourselves in a good early position.
“It’s not always the case, but a good start can give you the foundation for a good season. That’s what we had last year, and that’s what we’ll try to emulate this season.
“When we cast our minds back to our debut season in the Premier League two years ago, our first six games made for considerably different reading. I think this has presented us with an opportunity.
“We know what the Premier League is like, and there’s no such thing as any easy game – we proved that ourselves last season – but I feel that, if we can get off to the right start, there’s nothing stopping us from achieving what we did last season and more.”
Saints are presented with a tricky-looking run of games in the winter, when they face five of last season’s top seven teams across a nine-match period.
However, Davis says that is a challenge that he and his teammates will meet head on.
“Let’s not forget that we’ve done very well against the top sides in this league so we’ll by no means run scared from those games,” said the goalkeeper.
“However, if you meet those teams when you’re not at your best then you can find yourself slipping down the league.
“I think our mentality won’t change. We know we’re capable of winning any home game, but when we come up against the top teams we need to be at our best.”
As well as looking ahead to the new season’s fixtures, Davis expressed his delight at the appointment of Ronald Koeman, who became the club’s new manager earlier this week.
“Obviously I’d like to welcome Ronald and his staff, Erwin and Jan,” said the custodian.
“I have to congratulate the board on attracting such a highly-regarded manager. They’ve done a fantastic job in bringing him to the club.
“From my point of view – and I’m sure from the other players’ points of view – we are very excited to work with a man that achieved so much as a player and has continued it successfully as a manager.
“The fact that he sees Southampton as a club that he wants to come and work for shows that he is very committed to us, so we’re very proud and happy to have a man like that in charge and looking to push us forward.
“I’m sure that the supporters will be happy, and he will get the full backing of the squad.”
Davis also paid tribute to close friend Rickie Lambert, who will get an earlier-than-expected reunion with Southampton on the opening day having joined Liverpool earlier this month.
“I’ve already text Rickie to let him know that he needs to look after us!” joked the stopper.
“I know that he will be feeling very strange when he comes up against us, and I think it’ll be difficult for him when that game comes around.
“In terms of the reception he gets from the fans, the players and the club, I think there’ll be nothing but the utmost respect for him because what he achieved here helped us to where we are now.
“For the fans, and I also speak for the dressing room, Rickie will always be highly thought of and he will always be in our hearts.”