Terry Paine MBE believes lessons will have been learned from last season as Southampton start their preparations behind the scenes for the 2016/17 campaign.
Paine is looking forward to seeing Saints make a return to European football, and hopes that the club will rise to the task of creating another successful season as a whole.
“Obviously, that’s what it’s all about. You don’t want to stand still, and you certainly don’t want to go backward. But the key is, if you look at the club from top to bottom, it’s geared to make progress,” he told saintsfc.co.uk
“That’s why players are committing themselves to five and six-year contracts, because they can see that. The expectations are there, and the problem is you have to meet those expectations now. It’s a huge challenge.”
Following Manchester United’s FA Cup success, Saints now know that they will enter the Europa League at the group stages and the chance to have the squad settled ahead of that campaign should benefit the club.
“I think the first thing is they will have that little bit more experience how to go about it,” said Paine.
“I think they will have learnt from last season, I would imagine. From a squad point of view, if we were to lose nobody – and I’m not saying that’s going to happen, because there’s always movement – and we stayed as we were I wouldn’t be unhappy. I think as a squad we’re ok and we will get better as well. It’s very difficult to predict where you will be come August, but hopefully we don’t have to make too many adjustments.”
Last season Saints had to play two qualifiers, but the chance to bypass that means the club should be in a stronger position in the transfer market as a result.
“It’s brilliant,” he said. “That’s where you want to be, that’s where the players want to be and I think it’s a great bargaining chip for players maybe being brought in. The opportunity to say we can offer you European football has got to be a big plus.”