After a productive outing against Preston last weekend, Ralph Hasenhüttl is keen to see his Saints squad continue their pre-season momentum in the sweltering heat of Macau this week.
With his first-team group split in two between China and Ireland, Hasenhüttl oversaw a light, evening training session for his travelling party – a blend of youth and experience - this evening as they prepare for Tuesday’s friendly against Guangzhou R&F, a 1pm BST kick-off.
A heavy downpour before training ensured that conditions were welcoming and far cooler by the time Saints took to the field.
“It was important that we came here today and had a good first session straight away,” the Austrian said.
“During the day, it was very hot and now in the evening it is a little bit better after the rain. I think if it is like this tomorrow then we can have a good intense game here.
“I didn’t expect too much from the players after arriving today from a long flight but I think they want to play here tomorrow and have a good game. Then, everyone will be happy if we do that.
“You never know how strong your opponent will be in pre-season, (Preston) were one week further so it was a good test. We showed a few things that we had been working on in the past few weeks and there were positives, absolutely."
A clutch of Academy players have joined Hasenhüttl’s ranks in Macau and once again, will be given the opportunity to catch the eye of the Saints boss.
“It is always good for the younger guys to play; I watched them here and it’s important that they know what to do and offer me something and show me how far they are in their development; then, you never know, suddenly you can be training with the first team.
“We still don’t have the whole group, Moussa is still not with us so we are looking forward to welcoming him in the next week or so. Then we will have all the players on board and then we can really work hard.”