2012/13 Player of the Season Morgan Schneiderlin is glad to be back in the swing of things and says there's more to come from him in the coming campaign.
All First Team players who have not been involved in international action during the summer returned to Staplewood yesterday for the first day of pre-season training.
And Schneiderlin is already working to ensure he betters the performances that saw him recognised by the Club's fans and his fellow players last time out.
"Last year I had a good season, but I know that I can do better," he insisted while speaking to Saints Player.
"It's up to me to work hard now and to manage myself to be ready. Physically I'm feeling good – the rest is going to be good for me.
"As expected, training was quite hard for the first day but we knew that [it would be] before we went on holiday so we were prepared.
"We enjoyed ourselves but we've trained well and tried to maintain our fitness during the holidays to be ready for this.
"For a footballer, even one week is enough to lose a bit of fitness so, whether it's six weeks or two months like last year, you need to do the same [amount of work].
"Last year was the longest holiday I've ever had, and six weeks this year is still quite long – some international players have only two.
"For the first two weeks, I tried to switch off completely but after that I started to run a bit every two days to get my fitness back.
"You do need to enjoy yourself because it's going to be a long season, and one that's physically and mentally very hard. We've set a very high standard for next season so we need to be ready.
"We are quite lucky to enjoy so much holiday, but now we will work hard to be ready for the season."
The squad's pre-season preparations will step up over the coming fortnight as the likes of Gastón Ramírez, Maya Yoshida, Nathaniel Clyne and James Ward-Prowse return to the training ground having been given extended breaks after their recent involvement for their respective national teams.
Also due to join up with the First Team imminently is new signing Dejan Lovren, a player Frenchman Schneiderlin knows plenty about having kept an eye on the defender while he was playing for previous club Olympique Lyonnais.
"In France he was highly-rated – very strong, good in the air and on the ball," Morgan affirmed. "He played for Lyon, which over the last seven-or-eight years has been one of the best teams in France.
"He's a very good player who's played in the Champions League, and I've seen some of his games on French television so I know what he's like.
"I can tell the fans that he's going to bring some very good things to Southampton."
Saints play their first pre-season friendlies during their upcoming trips to Spain and Austria, where they will take on lower-league opposition before coming up against European giants FC Schalke 04 and Besiktas.
Then follows further games against La Liga sides Celta Vigo and Real Sociedad before the Barclays Premier League season gets underway on 17th August, with Schneiderlin confident that the friendly schedule will stand the squad in good stead.
"We play a lot of Spanish teams, and we know what they're about – they keep possession," said the midfielder.
"That's going to be good for us because a lot of teams in the Premier League like to keep the ball, so there's nothing better than to play against Spanish teams.
"Most of us have known each other for a long time now, but we haven't seen each other for a month so it's good to be together for two weeks to have a laugh and train hard.
"I'm sure some new players are going to come in so it's going to be good to understand everyone a little better.
"Like with every player, when Dejan comes we try to settle him down as quickly as possible and, if other players come, it'll be the same for them."