CLAUDE Puel does not regret his decision to continually rotate his team earlier this season – despite finding success with a settled side recently.
The St Mary's chief did not select an identical side in consecutive games until the end of February.
With Saints battling on several fronts, in the Premier League, Europa League and in domestic cups, Puel felt it was necessary to chop and change to keep his players as fresh as possible.
And if the same scenario were to happen again, the boss would do the same.
"I would make the same decision next year if we were in the European games," he said, ahead of tomorrow's match against Manchester City at St Mary's. "It will be a good thing.
"It was important to rotate because we had a game every three days.
"It was crazy to have all these games in the first part of the season.
"But all this allow us to develop many players.
"Since the beginning of the season we have had a lot of injuries.
"It wasn’t possible to keep good result, intensity and consistency about our results.
"When we can do this rotation it was to recover after every game and develop the young players.
"It was a good benefit for the club.
"For us now, with all these injuries, we stay with a good level and that is important."
During the early part of the season, Puel would regularly tinker between games, especially as Saints bounced from Europa League to top-flight matches.
He was criticised in some quarters for his chopping and changing, but has now stopped that policy after the volume of games thinned out for Saints.
With eight games left, the club are now targeting a positive end to the season and Puel states that getting above West Bromwich Albion in eighth is an ideal target.
"It’s a good objective for the end of the season," he said.
"It’s important to play with ambition, with good focus.
"I want my players to improve and progress because we want to finish the championship in the top half of the table.
"It's important to also prepare for next season.
"We learn, we take experience and maturity."
Puel is already thinking about next term, with the development of Saints' young players at the forefront of his mind.
He said: "We will see for next season but we have a good squad, young players and they continue to develop and improve.
"It’s important to keep this spirit and show the best of themselves.
"It’s a possibility to improve and I know and I’m sure they are ambitious and they want to keep this good feeling.
"I think it’s a good thing to play a lot of games with ambitions until the end of the season.
"But we can always do better in Premier League and this is important to keep a good focus and to stay hungry and in a good feeling for the next season and to keep a good ambition."