Ronald Koeman spoke to the media on Thursday ahead of Saints' Barclays Premier League match against QPR at St Mary's on Saturday.
Here are the key points from the briefing:
On the character of his squad…
“The players showed a great ambition because we planned last Wednesday as a day off after the Tuesday and José Fonte said to me: ‘boss, we would like to come to train tomorrow.’ I said: ‘But you have a day off – I’ve planned a lot of things with my wife!’
“We changed it and we had a recovering session. I’ve never had that – a team, a squad say ‘no day off’ and that means a lot for me, that means a lot about the ambition of the players.
“We spoke to each other and said ‘Okay, if you win against Queens Park Rangers then you get that day off for next week, and we hope to win on Saturday.”
“Every game is tough, difficult. They had two difficult away games, Man United and Tottenham. They play on a good level in their home games; a little bit unpredictable, because one time they played 4-4-2, one time they can play 4-3-3.
“We will see on Saturday. We have to prepare ourselves in the best way and we have to be fresh on Saturday, to play on a good level and to beat them.”
On team news…
“Maya Yoshida didn’t train with the group this morning, maybe tomorrow and then I have to make the decision if he can be part of the group for Saturday.
“Toby Alderweireld did a session. It’s looking positive, but if there is no reaction [from] the session of today tomorrow then he can be part of the squad for Saturday.”
On Matt Targett…
“Matthew is a young player and I’m impressed how he played last Tuesday and I’m always a fan of putting young players in that kind of game, because they’re the most difficult ones.
“If they make a debut or they play a second game in a good organisation in the team that’s easier for the players.
“Matthew, in my opinion, can be a fantastic player. He has to continue with us. He has to improve himself; he needs more experience. We have to keep that kind of young player, because it’s part of our philosophy.”
On Nathaniel Clyne…
“In my opinion, Clyne is one of the best right full-backs that I’ve had in my teams during the last 15 years and that means a lot because I like to play with offensive right and left full-backs and he has that quality – he’s fast and gives good crosses.
“I’m happy, but I’m not in the position to tell the national coach of somebody else about him. He shows his quality from the beginning of the season and if he continues like that he will get a call, for sure.
“If he shows his qualities game-by-game then I’m sure he will get finally a call to be a national player.”
On being sensible in pressing forward in matches…
“It’s difficult because that means you need players on the pitch who decide to do the right pressing on the right moment and pressing starts always with the attackers and sometimes it’s difficult for them, because they make actions, they have to come back, they have to do aggressive pressing.
“It’s a team quality, it’s my philosophy, because I’m not a coach who waits in defending.
“Sometimes it’s difficult because you can’t do pressing during 90 minutes, it’s impossible. We do sessions to wait for the right moment to do pressing.
“That needs time. Sometimes we did that against Arsenal in a good way and sometimes it wasn’t good because there was too much space between the defence and our midfield. Against, Arsenal, it’s difficult, because they have good position play, they have good position players.
“We have to learn and maybe that’s different from last season and we need time. But I’m happy about the players, how they did the pressing.”
On the importance of defending…
"To win points, to win games, it starts at the back. It starts in the defence. That's the reason that we bought Fraser because he is a fantastic goalkeeper with a future in the club.
"We have a strong defence. It is all about organisation in the team and one time a week we do unit training. We make three groups and we have training for the defenders, for midfielders and for forwards.
"You try to put them in situations that can happen in the game and to prepare the defence, to prepare the midfield.
"In my opinion, it's normal that the midfield will score five times and they get freedom to attack because we have defenders. Players need freedom to do things going forwards.
"In the last few games we had midfielders who scored, like Wanyama against Swansea to get three points. That is an example of how we try to do work the whole week. Building a house you don't start up, you start at the bottom. That makes winning teams.
"Of course in attack we brought in Tadić, Mane, we brought in Graziano Pellè - important players.
"But even then we brought in two centre-backs because we need competition in other positions. That is my way of thinking."
Tickets for Saturday's game are still available! Buy online at tickets.saintsfc.co.uk, by phoning 02381 780 780 or visiting the St Mary's Ticket Office.