Maya Yoshida admits his disastrous debut for Southampton now seems a distant memory - and he believes the future is bright at St. Mary's.

Despite suffering a 3-0 defeat at home to West Brom on Saturday, the Japan international centre-back is confident that the south coast club have got what it takes to kick on in the Premier League and make an impact next season.

With 39 points on the board, the Saints are almost safe - one more win would all but guarantee their Premier League status for another season - and Yoshida is not looking over his shoulder.

Signed by former Saints boss Nigel Adkins last summer from Dutch side VVV-Venlo, the 24-year-old made his first appearance against Arsenal at the Emirates in a 6-1 mauling.

He came off the bench for the injured Jos Hooiveld with the score at 1-0, and was handed a tough introduction into English football, with Arsene Wenger's side inflicting Southampton's heaviest defeat of the season.

Yoshida told Sky Sports: "To be honest I didn't expect to get a big chance so early.

"I was hoping I could get a really big chance against Arsenal but after then I have kept playing well until now.

"Playing football is the most important thing and I'm very grateful to Nigel and (new boss) Mauricio Pochettino so I will just keep going.

"We have played well, are organised defensively and when we are attacking we show good risk management with Corky [Jack Cork] and Morgan [Schneiderlin] playing very well."

Yoshida wants the team to look at those sides above them and aim to finish as high as possible rather than worry about the scrap for survival below.

Aston Villa's 6-1 win over Newcastle United, who are managed by ex-Saints boss Alan Pardew, has dragged one or two teams back into the relegation mix, but Yoshida is confident the Saints can look up rather than down.

"If we get one more point or three points we are almost safe but I think we should put more focus on higher targets. Don't look at what is under us but look up.

"Many players have signed new contracts like Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana, Artur Boruc - and if we keep the same players and get new players in the summer we will have a big opportunity to get more points and have big ambitions."

 

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