Mark Hughes says he is excited by what lays ahead after signing a three-year deal to extend his stay at St Mary’s.
Hughes guided Saints to Premier League survival at the end of the 2017/18 campaign, pulling everyone together to achieve the desired results.
Speaking for the first time since his appointment, the 54-year-old outlined the ambitions for the season ahead and he is hoping that his side have learnt lessons in order to deliver success.
“I’m delighted. With the way the season went in the end there was a great feeling and clearly we needed to get the job done. It was a short-term deal when I came in and I understood that totally,” Hughes said.
“I just think what happened and how we went about our business it was clear there was a lot of relief at the club and a realisation that we’d come together, myself and my staff that I brought in, the players with the fans and everybody.
“It made sense that we tried to extend if we could.
“We’re really looking forward to the new season now and it’s about building straight from the off, making sure that we’re ready to go to hit the ground running.
“It’s all the old clichés but they all apply. I think we’ve got a group here that’s talented and has real potential as well as there being growth because they’re still young in terms of years.
“I think they will all benefit from what we went through last year. I think we’ll learn from that and be better again this year."
Saints will travel to China for a pre-season training camp, where they will take on FC Schalke 04 and Jiangsu Suning in two friendles.
Hughes added: “It’s an important time. Not everyone will be back but we’ll see how we go in terms of the makeup of the group that travels.
“We haven’t got too many away so a lot of good work can be started and we can start shaping things for what we need to do leading into the season from the first day.
“We’ll make sure we’re ready physically and mentally I’m convinced we will be because of the efforts and the events of last season that we came through. We’ll be ready to go.”