Maya Yoshida is hoping to bounce back from Asian Cup disappointment with a win against Swansea City this weekend at St Mary’s.
Yoshida’s Japan suffered a shock elimination to the UAE in the quarter-finals of the competition, allowing him to return to the south coast early and be available for Sunday’s clash with the Swans.
The defender was understandably frustrated by the early exit, but is now looking to make up for lost time with Ronald Koeman’s side as they bid to make it seven Premier League games unbeaten in a row.
Speaking to Southampton’s official YouTube channel, Yoshida said: “Of course I wasn’t happy with the result of the tournament but now that I’m back I’m happy to be here.
“The positive thing is that I will not miss any more Saints games and that’s good. I was a little bit jealous when I was away because we won against Manchester United away and Newcastle United away.
“I watched the whole game against Newcastle and the team played very well. They worked hard and we had many injured. Now I’d like to contribute to the team.
“At the end of the year I played many times and scored as well, that was a great moment. It was a little bit of a pity to have to leave for the Asian Cup.
“I’m thinking now to restart with Saints and show my quality. I just focus on every single match every week and my only focus is on the Swansea game.
“Last match (against Swansea) I had an injury, so I want to make a good memory. For sure, we want the three points for the supporters to celebrate together after the game.”
Before he jetted out to Australia for the Asian Cup, Yoshida penned a new three-year contract with Saints, and the defender was delighted to commit his long-term future to the club.
Having had to battle with José Fonte, Toby Alderweireld and Florin Gardos for a place in the team this season, Yoshida feels he has developed as a player, and thanked Ronald Koeman for his part in that.
“It’s great for me. I wanted to sign a new contract before I left the team for the Asian Cup,” Yoshida added. “I wanted to focus on football. Three years more is great. There was no reason for me to say no.
“It’s a fantastic club, the fans are perfect and the stadium is very nice. It was simple for me. My dream was to play in England and in the Premier League.
“From every single training session I can feel I’m improving. We are professionals and we have to give everything in every single training session.
“I used to play Dutch football so it’s easy for me to fit into his (Koeman’s) football. He was a good defender and we have good competition between the defenders here.
“We have three other good defenders, I can learn many things from the three guys, that’s the best way to improve. All of the things around me are fantastic at Southampton."