José Fonte has added his name to the growing list of senior players at Saints who have publicly stated their hope that Mauricio Pochettino will agree a new long-term contract with the club.

The defender insists it is enormously important that the manager stays put at St Mary’s, saying that the players adore playing for him.

Pochettino, whose current deal expires at the end of next season, has indicated he will discuss his future with the club’s new board this summer.

Rickie Lambert and Artur Boruc have already expressed their desire for Saints and Pochettino to agree a long-term deal, and Fonte is also in no doubt about how crucial it is that they keep hold of him.

“I think it’s massive,” he said. “It’s one of the main things. We players love to play under him, we love his philosophy, his style of play, and the way he manages is top.

“He is definitely one of the best managers that I have played under.

“So we look forward to him signing a big, long contract so we can relax and enjoy our time with him.”

Fonte said Pochettino’s contract situation is not a distraction for the players, but he did admit that it is a topic of discussion among the squad.

“We’re not going to lie, we have to be honest, it is something that we talk about, but when it comes to Saturday or game time we know the job we have to do but, yes, it is something that we talk about.”

As well as his current boss, one of Fonte’s former managers will be at St Mary’s this weekend, as Alan Pardew brings his Newcastle side to the stadium.

Pardew, who was sacked from Saints in 2010, is still well regarded by many members of the squad who were at the club during his time in charge.

Fonte says he is one who owes a debt of gratitude to him.

“Yeah, massively. He was the one who brought me here in the first place," he said. "We won the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy and have great memories from Wembley.

“I have only good things to say about him. He was a manger that I enjoyed playing under, so I am grateful to him.”

Saints will climb above Newcastle, into eighth place, with a win tomorrow, and Fonte says the game is a crucial one as the side look to finish the season strongly.

“It’s not decisive, but, obviously, it’s a game that if we win we know we go above them, so it’s an important game," he said. "We want to get the three points. I am sure they will be looking to it as well as a very, very big game and Saturday will be an interesting one I think.”