Maya Yoshida has urged Saints not to make the same mistakes as last season and get off to a flying start as they aim to return to a top half Premier League finish.

The Japanese defender insists Saints remain ambitious despite only narrowly avoiding relegation last time out.

Like last season Saints have a relatively kind looking fixture programme early in the campaign and with teams also trying to find their feet after disjointed pre-seasons due to the World Cup, Yoshida has urged his team to take advantage.

He said: “I don’t want to talk about the end of the season yet because we dropped so many points at the beginning of the season last year that we have to focus first time on the Premier League to get the points as much as we can, especially against bigger teams.

“Many players played in the World Cup and they will have fatigue and come back late from their holidays and with that kind of situation we have to use it and get as many points as possible.”

He added: “We can’t make the same mistakes as we have done last season.

“We are not a team who try to stay up in the Premier League, we are a more ambitious team, a more ambitious club, to try and get into the top ten.

“Still the expectations were not very high. I can see that in the stands.

“We have to play better and win games and that makes a huge difference with the fans always supporting us and hopefully this season will be a great season.”

Saints will also have to bed in a new faces in the opening weeks with four signings arriving during the summer.

That won’t be a simple task but Yoshida insists its beholden on the entire squad to help.

“A few players haven’t been in the Premier League and it’s not easy to adjust immediately as it’s a different class, a different competition,” said Yoshida.

“Some players need time to adjust themselves but we are a team and our squad try to help these other players and hopefully they will settle down as soon as possible.

“We have good competition between the players and we have to rise ourselves up.”

Yoshida has just returned himself after World Cup duty with Japan over the summer where he helped his nation to get through the group stages before a narrow loss to Belgium in the last 16.

He has played just 22 pre-season minutes but insists he is fit and ready to start in the Premier League opener against Burnley on Sunday.

“I am Japanese so when I was on holiday I was training myself. I am ready.”