Daily Echo:

MAURICIO Pellegrino has been a “breath of fresh air” since taking over at Saints.

That is the verdict of Steven Davis, who says the Saints team are “desperate” to impress the new St Mary’s chief as they prepare to welcome West Ham United on Saturday in the Premier League.

“He’s been great since he came in, like a breath of fresh air,” the Northern Ireland international said.

“I’ve enjoyed working under him. he’s obviously still trying to translate his ideas to the players on the pitch and hopefully as the season goes on we’ll get better and better and understand what he wants, but there were positive signs against Swansea.”

After an indifferent end to last season, with the team booed for their final performances at St Mary’s under Claude Puel, a fresh start under Pellegrino has lifted the squad.

“It’s a clean slate for everybody,” Davis explained. “Everyone has been desperate to impress in pre-season, you could see that, and obviously there’s good competition for places as well with the quality we’ve got in the squad. You’re going to have to put in a good performance to keep that shirt.”

Now the club captain wants Saints to build momentum in the Premier League, especially with Pellegrino’s men avoiding any of the big clubs in the opening weeks of the season.

Saints face West Ham next, before playing Huddersfield, Watford and Crystal Palace.

“You want to get points on the board as soon as possible and start off with the right momentum,” Davis said.

“There’s a lot of positive signs. The fans could see that. Everyone is leaving a little bit frustrated — apart from Swansea —but if we keep playing like that and keep doing the right things then we’ll win a lot of games.”

Saints have failed to score for a club-record six straight games at home, with sides often putting men behind the ball and going defensive.

Swansea were the latest side to do that on Saturday in the goalless draw.

“You take it as a compliment,” said Davis. “They respect the quality that we’ve got. Every team has got a different game plan and that might be different home and away.”