José Fonte believes he has never experienced a better level of camaraderie than currently exists among the Southampton squad.
Talking to Saints Player from the First Team's training base in Spain, the defender said their first weekend overseas brought home just how close the he and his teammates currently are.
"The spirit in this team is fantastic," insisted Fonte. "I've never been in a group as good as this one, and it's wonderful to be a part of this team.
"Everyone who comes in gets welcomed by the other lads, and I think they feel at home straight away because everyone in the dressing room is a good person and a good professional above all.
"We always find things to entertain ourselves, so it's been fun. We're here to do a job and push this club forward as a group."
First Team Manager Mauricio Pochettino has put his players through double sessions on the majority of their first four days in Spain.
And Fonte – while admitting the hard work has been tough on his legs – says that the first two weeks of pre-season has left him feeling in peak physical condition.
"I feel better than ever," said the Portuguese. "In these two weeks, I've been feeling better than I finished last season – I feel strong, my legs are feeling good and I'm ready to go.
"Pre-season is never easy, especially this one. There's been a lot of hard work, but you can see that the lads are very strong. I think it's been a great four days.
"You work very hard on your power and explosion, and we've been working in the gym every day. We're feeling strong, quick, powerful, explosive and that's been helpful for everyone."
Saints play their first pre-season friendly tomorrow evening when they face UE Llagostera, who play in the Segunda Divisón B – the third tier of the Spanish league system.
The game could see debuts for new signings Dejan Lovren and Victor Wanyama, and Fonte says he's looking forward to getting back on the pitch after two-and-a-half weeks of toiling on the training ground.
"When we play against teams it means we don't have to run so much in training!" he laughed.
"Everyone is feeling very strong and fit, and we are ready to go – we just want to play games and to get the new lads to come together and bond so the team can start rolling.
"We look forward to matches because that's what we love to do – play football. We're looking forward to showing the manager that we're here to play."