MAYA Yoshida has urged Saints to be “physically, mentally and tactically” prepared for what he believes is a crucial game against Brighton next Saturday.

Watford’s FA Cup involvement and a round of international fixtures have left Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side with a three-week break before their trip along the south coast.

The St Mary’s outfit, who signed off for their hiatus with a brilliant 2-1 victory over Tottenham, are currently sat two points above the relegation zone, ahead of Cardiff and Burnley.

Yoshida said: “We are still not safe, that’s for sure.

“It’s going to be really crucial when we play Brighton, so we have to make sure we are ready for that game physically, mentally and tactically.

“We’ve played well in the last three games but, unfortunately, we couldn’t get any points from one of them.

“If we didn’t get a point against Tottenham, then it would have been a really long and difficult three-week break.

“It was crucial to get the three points because Cardiff, Newcastle and Brighton all won before the break.”

Yoshida is no stranger to being embroiled in a relegation battle.

The Japanese international was involved last season when the St Mary’s side managed to fight their way out of trouble with Mark Hughes at the helm.

Following the Brighton match, Saints will host Liverpool at home which will be the last time they play a top-six team this campaign.

Hasenhuttl’s squad, compared to Burnley and Cardiff, have an easier run-in on paper.

However, Yoshida believes that counts for nothing: “I still have the confidence we will stay up but, at the same time, we know what we need to do.

“There isn’t any magic and we have to put in 100 per cent effort every day in training and in every match.

“That will be the only way we will stay up.”

With Japan not competing during this current round of international fixtures, Yoshida hasn’t had to endure his usual long-haul trip to East Asia.

Hasenhuttl had previously mentioned that due to the amount of travelling the defender has to do, he will always be at risk of losing his place in the side upon his return.

The 30-year-old is fully aware of this though and has no plans on retiring from international football.

“I’ve taken a new position as the captain of the Japan national team and I’m enjoying my time there,” Yoshida continued.

“We have a new manager and it’s a new challenge. I hope I can work for the country until the next World Cup.

“Every manager says, ‘you will be tired’, but I’m fine. The big title in the paper should say ‘I’m fine’.”