Ronald Koeman believes Saints’ pre-season win over Bournemouth tonight was an important stepping stone towards the new Premier League campaign.

Lloyd Isgrove’s first half header bagged Saints their fourth win from four this summer.

Koeman was more pleased by the test the Cherries posed his side and the way they responded to it.

“I am happy with that performance because it was not really a friendly and we need that in pre-season,” he said.

“It was a match with a high spirit and a high tempo and we need that.

“I was very happy about the first 45 minutes and I think we played against a very good opponent.

“They like to play football and have a lot of pace.

“We created a lot of possibilities and defended well as they didn’t create many and we got a clean sheet and we need that.”

Koeman has given opportunities to young players and was particularly impressed by left sided duo Matt Targett and Isgrove at the Goldsands Stadium.

“Always in the pre-season there are some players a little bit more in the spotlight than others,” reflected Koeman.

“Look to the left side of the team with Matthew Targett at left full back and Isgrove on the left side. They are two youngsters and did very well.”

Koeman did admit that the team that started against Bournemouth last night is not likely to be the same as the one that kicks-off against Liverpool at Anfield next month.

He would not be drawn on any names of transfer targets but said: “We are working hard to bring new players in and it’s not the line-up we can expect at Liverpool.

“We have to be prepared for the first match against Liverpool and I know the club is working very hard and we will see.

“It’s still not too late. It’s the problem in August and after the World Cup.

“Everybody will have their squad for the beginning of the season a bit later on.

“I believe in our young players but you have to be realistic because we need the competition between the squad and the team as well. We have to bring some players in.

“I am relaxed because I have the confidence in the club and when we start against Liverpool we will be very well prepared.

“I knew when I came to Southampton the situation. I knew there was a lot of interest in some players and we are not Man City, we are not Chelsea. We are Southampton, with all due respect, and the fans can believe when we start we will have a good team.”