Maya Yoshida was pleased to come through the full 90 minutes of Southampton’s EFL Cup victory over Sunderland and says he feeling the benefits of squad rotation.
Having played in Milan last week but not the trip to Manchester City, Yoshida was restored to the starting eleven for the visit of Sunderland and helped Claude Puel’s side to a clean sheet in their 1-0 win over the Black Cats.
Yoshida was one of the older heads in a young team on the night which started with five academy graduates in the team.
“It’s always important for the team to have a chance to give opportunities to the young lads and for me it was very important to get playing time in a week where we have the cup, the league and European matches, I can get minutes myself and conditioning,” said Yoshida.
“It’s important for myself to show to the manager my performances and take opportunities when they come.
“It’s important to stay solid as a team because we have two games every week into the New Year and it’s important for everyone to be fit to make the squad good.”
Now in his fifth season and fourth manager with Saints, Yoshida says he’s developing his game as he continues to enjoy his time at the club.
“There are many games coming and I have learned many things in the past four years,” he said. “Sometimes I play a lot and sometimes not. Last season I got a chance to play at right back or left back but maybe I couldn’t how enough to the manager. At the end of the season I didn’t play a long time so from that point I knew I needed to be fit and ready to show myself every week.
“Playing in the Premier League is always good and nice to play in, but the cup is also good for me.
“I’m feeling much better than last season, and it’s a huge opportunity to get a title for the club, so we’re going for it.”