Mark Hughes said he would cut his players some slack after their 3-0 defeat to Borussia Monchengladbach – but warned he would not be so forgiving next weekend.

Saints finished off their pre-season campaign with a heavy defeat to the German side at St Mary’s.

They now have a week to get things in order before taking on Burnley in the Premier League opener.

Hughes said: “I will cut them a little bit of slack because we have had three games in a week in really hot conditions and they were a bit brighter and sharper in their work, got in front and it was difficult to get back on terms.

“What I wanted to see was that we were able to impose the way we want to play against teams on them but we struggled to a certain extent to do that.

“I was loathed to really change the formation and get us a foothold. I felt we needed to persevere with what we’ve been doing and try to work our way into the game in that manner.

“As it was I think in the end we changed it towards the end of the last 15 and if that was a matchday and the opposition team were controlling the game like they were I would have made changes and addressed the issues that were presenting themselves a lot earlier.

“It is about making inroads in terms of what we are trying to do and clearly at this stage of the season some guys are in good shape, others are lacking a little bit of form, others like Maya have just come back and Cedric who we haven’t seen yet are at different levels.

“It is going to take a few weeks before everybody is on an even keel and at full capacity.

“We have to cut them a bit of slack but I won’t be so forgiving next weekend because we need to get up to speed.”

Hughes, who confirmed that Cedric Soares will return to training next week after recovering from gastroenteritis, added: “The thing with pre-season games is that it’s an old cliché but you can play yourself into the team and you can play yourself out of it.

“You give people opportunities and they have got to grasp it and make the best use of the game time they have been given.

“To be fair I have given almost everybody a good crack at it and almost everybody has had decent minutes on the field.

“They need to show me this week that they are ready to go.”