Jos Hooiveld affirmed that Saints’ 1-0 friendly win over Swindon Town on Monday night helped clarify areas required for improvement ahead of the new season.
The centre-back, who netted the only goal of the evening with a second-half prod, admitted the areas of encouragement were coupled with negative points but maintained that all of the squad – including the younger generation within the group, which Hooiveld feels are one of the greatest rafts the club can produce – know where to fix their focus in the build-up to the 2014/15 campaign.
The 31-year-old showered First Team Manager Ronald Koeman with praise and declared their objective is to sharpen up in-line with the new gaffer’s vision for the future.
“There are a lot of things to improve,” Jos told BBC Radio Solent after Monday’s victory. “It was a good exercise, intensive in the weather. It was quite a nice performance; it was nice to be out there.
“If you want to look for negative things, you can find them. There were a lot of positive things to get out of it as well. One of the biggest positives was that we can see where we need to improve and that we can work towards it.
“That (producing players) is something we’re used to at Southampton – it’s just one of the things the club is known for. We’ve always tried to emphasise our Academy.
“At this moment, it’s one of the best [group of] youngsters we’ll ever get. It’ll be interesting to see who will stand up and grab the chance. It’s nice.
“Everybody has their own opinions otherwise we wouldn’t have the same kind of energy. He (Koeman) has his own ideas and the kind of football he wants himself. He understands the game and now it’s up to us to perfect his ideas on the pitch.
“I’ve been away for about eight or nine years but it’s been nice to pick up so many things from when I was still in Holland. It’s been really enjoyable for me.”
Hooiveld mustered a total of eight appearances for the club in the 2013/14 season – three of those coming in the Premier League – and while he attributes that amount to a failure to take his opportunities when they arose, the defender is desperate to battle his way into contention for a starting place under the new regime.
“As long as I’m here I will fight for every game,” the Dutchman stated. “It’s always been my goal and target. Of course last season wasn’t the best. It was an enjoyable season but I wanted to take part in it more than I did as well.
“I can honestly say that the boys in there have done an excellent job. You can’t really complain. Of course I was disappointed but the chances I got, I didn’t grab as greatly as I should have done. You know that in the Premier League you have to deal with the consequences.
“Now is a new start and I’m going to give 110 percent.”