Saints captain José Fonte says Thursday’s clash with Feyenoord was the ideal preparation for next week’s UEFA Europa League qualifier.
Fonte and his teammates ran out 3-0 winners at De Kuip to round off a successful week-long stay in Holland, where they also beat FC Groningen – who themselves will take part in the Europa League this season – and put ten past lower-leaguers Quick ’20.
And the Portugal international says the squad treated Thursday’s game – which was played in front of a 51,000-strong crowd – as if it were a competitive European fixture.
He told the Daily Echo: “I said in the huddle that this is what we want to play week in week out – against these crowds and good teams like this club.
“It’s important to get the feeling of these kind of games and embrace it and enjoy it, and win like we did.
“We knew it would be a tough test,” continued Fonte, “so we wanted to put a good performance to get prepared for next Thursday, which will be similar, so for us it was very important the way we approached the game.
“We showed a lot of character, although it was a friendly, but still it was a good performance.
“Everyone took it very seriously – we showed another step, we proved a little bit more.
“We still have a couple of gears on us that we can improve and we can step up – we could have scored more, but it was good. It was a good win.”