Southampton legend Matt Le Tissier is looking forward to the 2019/20 season with a renewed sense of optimism, as the build-up to a first full campaign under the guidance of manager Ralph Hasenhüttl begins.
The pre-season programme will soon be getting under way at Staplewood Campus, as Saints start preparations for what will be an eighth successive year in the Premier League.
matt le tissieri think there is renewed optimism in the city, and mainly because of what ralph's done.
on the influence of ralph hasenhüttl
Given how the team performed in the second half of the last campaign, following the arrival of Hasenhüttl in December, Le Tissier is excited about what could lie ahead in the coming 12 months.
"I think I'm probably a lot more optimistic than the past couple of seasons," he said. "It's been a little bit of a struggle the last two years, but I think the way we finished the second half of the season with the new manager, I thought there was lots to look forward to for the next season.
"I think he's been excellent since he's been here. He's injected an energy into the team that we haven't had for a couple of seasons, and I think that's important.
"Some of the most exciting times here have been when we've played with an energetic team that look to be on the front foot going forward, and that's what he's brought back to the club, and I think that's why Season Ticket sales have gone so well. I think there is renewed optimism in the city, and mainly because of what Ralph's done."
Le Tissier, who earlier this year became an official Club Ambassador, believes that was reflected in the mood among supporters during the final months of last season.
"There's a big difference between having 30,000 people in the stadium and having 30,000 people in the stadium who are looking forward to what they're going to watch," he said.
"You get a very different atmosphere in the stadium when the crowd comes with a positive attitude and that I think is the biggest thing the manager has brought, he's brought his own brilliant positive mental attitude towards the club and it's rubbed off on the players and I think you've seen it in the way it's rubbed off on the fans, certainly in the second half of the season."
matt le tissierit was great to see the team out there competing against the big boys and knowing we can take points off them again.
on saints' improvement against the top six
With Southampton's opening two home games of the new season coming against Liverpool and Manchester United, that atmosphere could be particularly important when the Premier League gets under way again.
"It's going to be interesting given our first two home games, the quality of the sides we're going to be facing," Le Tissier said.
"This place is going to be packed to the rafters and if we can get off to a good start then who knows where we can finish?
"We had a couple of years where we didn't enjoy playing against those big sides and got very little out of it, and then all of a sudden Ralph's first game here, the 3-2 win over Arsenal, was electrifying and it was just great to be able to see the team out there competing against the big boys and knowing that we can take points off them again."