MANAGER Russell Martin stressed the importance of maintaining the "atmosphere and excitement" around the club if Saints are to achieve an "even better" season in the Premier League.

Southampton will be looking to avoid an immediate return to the Championship after sealing promotion via the playoffs last season.

Martin recalled the atmosphere against West Brom and Leeds United in the playoffs and the important role it played in helping Saints over the line.

The boss insisted he feels proud of what the club are building and wants supporters to celebrate every win in the top flight to continue that feeling.

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In a new interview, he said: “When everyone is moving in the same direction, the supporters included, the moments you can have are incredible.

“We are going into a new challenge, but let’s maintain the excitement that we feel and let’s maintain the way we are going to do things.

“I feel proud of what we are building and I feel connected to the club. I feel absolute togetherness from the people inside and outside of the club.

“The supporters were brilliant with the way they finished the season, and throughout the season.

 Russell Martin signed a new three-year contract earlier this monthRussell Martin signed a new three-year contract earlier this month (Image: Southampton FC)

“When you feel that love and connection, it’s important. I feel it back 10 times more than what I’ve received because that’s how I am.

“I really feel that we are capable of achieving something special. With the supporters, we need to create an incredible atmosphere.

“The end-of-season atmosphere against West Brom, at Wembley, I think about Leeds at home and the way the Watford game ended at home.

He continued: “We need to recreate that as much as possible. This has the potential to be an even better season, but we need to celebrate every win the same way.

“Every win is going to be so important. If we can achieve what we want to achieve next season, it will be better than winning at Wembley.

“It won’t always be as good as that win, but we need to harness that feeling as much as we can as a club to keep moving forward.”