By SFC Media Tue 13 Sep Saints vs Sparta

Skipper previews visit of Sparta

José Fonte is looking forward to writing another chapter in his history with Southampton, as he prepares to lead the team into its UEFA Europa League campaign.

José Fonte is looking forward to writing another chapter in his history with Southampton, as he prepares to lead the team into its UEFA Europa League campaign.

Saints will kick-off the group stage on Thursday night with a home game against Czech side Sparta Praha, before their attention turns to fixtures against Internazionale and Hapoel Be’er Sheva also on their schedule.

For Fonte, who has been with the club since its League 1 days, it will be another moment to savour.

"It's just another chapter in our history together, a very, very proud moment, and in ten years when we look back on everything we have achieved together it is going to be great,” the captain told Southampton’s official YouTube channel. “But now we need to do the job.

"We want to improve on last year. Already we improve on going into the group stages, but we want to go into the knockout stages and go as far as we can, and everyone is excited to start this competition.

It's just another chapter in our history together, a very, very proud moment for everyone that has been involved.

José Fonte
Defender

"They're great games, we have a great group, so we just look forward to every game. Obviously, the Milan game is a very good team, so we look forward to that one.

"But also Sparta Prague is a very good team, they play in Europe almost every year, and then we go to Israel and it's going to be very interesting.”

Saints fell at the final hurdle before the group stage last season, losing in the play-off round to Danish side FC Midtjylland.

Fonte says the hurt of that defeat can be turned into a positive this time around.

"We'll find out by the end of the group stage, but, obviously, with the experience that we got last year, being knocked out the way we did, we know that we cannot make mistakes and every game counts.

"We look forward to maximising our games and getting the points that we need to go to the knockout stages,” he concluded.