Claude Puel says Southampton’s UEFA Europa League clash against Hapoel Be’er Sheva will have the feel of a final at St Mary’s on Thursday night.
Saints know that victory or a 0-0 scoreline will secure their passage into the knockout stages of the competition.
“All my players make progress since the beginning of the season to play all these games,” said Puel.
“We are ready to make a strong game and it will be important against this team because it’s a good team with technical players.
“They won their last game against Internazionale and they deserve to make this final of the group but we are ready.”
The reverse fixture ended in a stalemate, but Puel is hoping to make home advantage pay and continue a fine European record.
Indeed, they are unbeaten in seven home European fixtures, stretching back to a 4-2 defeat against Sporting CP in 1982.
“It’s an opportunity for Be’er Sheva but it’s also an opportunity for Southampton because we play at home and we can do a very good game here,” Puel continued.
“It’s important to considerate all the possibilities and opportunities for the qualification.
“It’s a very interesting game and it’s an opportunity for the fans to see this game. We will go to give our all.”