Mark Hughes believes the competitive nature of the Premier League season will get the best out of his players when Southampton kick-off against Burnley next weekend.
Saints came from 2-0 down at half time to beat Celta Vigo in midweek, but yesterday fell to a 3-0 defeat on home soil against Borussia Mönchengladbach.
Hughes, whilst acknowledging his side must improve, is confident the intensity of the “real stuff” will serve Saints well.
“I think everybody understands that pre-season is difficult for players, in terms of getting them all to a level where they’re at full capacity,” he said.
“Some guys need a lot of games, other guys not so many and others lose form when they have a mid-season break or a pre-season break, and it takes them time to get it back.
“We’ve got a lot of players not quite at the level we expect of them, and as a consequence we look a bit fragmented at the moment.
“We need to get up to speed. We’ve only got a week to go and there’s lots to work on, but I think everybody understands this time next week we’ll be ready to go.
“The mentality you need to go into key Premier League games will be there. We’ve probably had enough of friendlies and we need to get into the real stuff.”