Yoshida: We've Grown Since Baggies Loss

By SFC Media time Thu 25 Apr Club

Maya Yoshida has warned West Bromwich Albion that they are going to face a different Saints side this weekend to the one they beat last November.

Yoshida was in the team that lost two-nil at the Hawthorns during the first half of the season in front of the television cameras.

That result left Southampton bottom of the Premier League table with just four points from their 10 games.

The Baggies, meanwhile, were fifth in the league with an impressive 17 points, putting them above the likes of Spurs, Arsenal and Liverpool.

However, Saints' strong second half of the season means Yoshida's side are now just four places and six points behind this weekend's opponents.

And the Japanese international hopes he and his teammates can right the wrongs of that Bonfire Night defeat at the Hawthorns.

"I'd like to show West Brom another Southampton on Saturday," Yoshida told the press this afternoon. "If they think that they are facing the same team as last time, they will have a problem. 

"We just need to focus on getting three points and, if we do that, we'll be almost safe.

"Of course, even if we get one more point then we'll be almost safe but I think we should focus on a higher target. We shouldn't be looking below us, just in front. We should keep going.

"We have been very organised, especially defensively. When we're attacking, we do some good risk management – especially Corky (Jack Cork) and Morgan [Schneiderlin], who are playing really well. 

"That's why I can play very comfortably with them and with the other defenders. At the moment I am very comfortable."

Since making his debut as a substitute away at Arsenal last September, Yoshida has played every single minute of his side's league fixtures.

He is now in line to make his 35th appearance for the club this weekend, which is some achievement for someone brought in after the season had begun.

The 24-year-old says he is thoroughly enjoying life in England, and had a special tribute to pay as he nears the end of his first season at St Mary's.

He said: "Everything is fantastic, and I want to say thank you to the groundsman here because the pitch condition at this stadium is really, really good. 

"I've seen a lot of stadiums, like Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal. Arsenal was so good, but here is just the same. 

"That's why we can play passing football really well, and not just kick the ball long. We can play well because of the pitch, and I want us to show that on Saturday."

One target remains intact for Yoshida, though – he has yet to find the net for Saints.

The defender was prolific during his years with previous clubs VVV-Venlo and Nagoya Grampus, and he admits that he is working hard at increasing his chances of scoring a goal for his new club.

"In my last season in Japan, I got eight goals – four in the league and four in the Asian Champions League. Last season in Holland, I got five," he says. 

"So this season it is a little bit of a pity that I've not scored, but here set-pieces are really tough.

"You really have to fight against stronger guys than you do in Holland and in Japan. I think I need to improve at set-pieces, both defensively and offensively. 

"I need to score more. If you play more than 30 games, you should score three or four goals."

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