Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg enjoying Southampton's France trip

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg did not set the world alight in his first season in English football, but the Southampton midfielder is in high spirits ahead of his second year in the Premier League.

The Saints are currently in France, training ahead of their friendly on Saturday against Ligue 1 outfit St-Etienne, and Hojbjerg believes this is ideal preparation for the upcoming campaign.

Slow start

On the pitch, Southampton's start to pre-season has been far from perfect. Admittedly, they are undefeated after friendlies against Swiss side St Gallen and Brentford, but they are also without a win after drawing 0-0 and 2-2 respectively. 

The Saints failed to win either of their opening two friendlies. | Photo: Simon Hausberger/Getty Images

Of Course, getting match fit is the priority at the moment, but there is no such thing as a bad victory, and the Saints will be desperate to re-capture that winning habit, something which eluded them for large chunks of last season, as quickly as possible.

While there is no need whatsoever for new manager Mauricio Pellegrino to panic about the ordinary results just yet, he will surely be keen to build some momentum before the Premier League kicks off, and the best way to do that is by stringing a few wins together.

No need to worry

Even though the Saints' opening friendlies have not gone totally to plan, Hojbjerg is still in a positive mood. The Dane is very content with how things are ticking over, and believes the trip to France is exactly what is required.

The 21-year-old is clearly impressed with the facilities in Évian-les-Bains, stating that "We get nice food, we have a nice hotel, the training pitch is lovely" and that "everything is lined up". Keen to build team spirit, Hojbjerg is happy that the team can "be together in a good surrounding and a good atmosphere".

After a slightly underwhelming debut season for Southampton last time out, the midfielder clearly believes that both he and his team are perfectly poised to flourish in the upcoming ten months or so.

First impressions

There is a little extra at stake for the Southampton players in this pre-season, as they will be determined to catch the eye of their new boss before the campaign begins. 

Pellegrino will be analysing his squad closely over the coming weeks. | Photo: Simon Hausberger/Getty Images

Manager Pellegrino will be using the France trip to look at his new squad under intense scrutiny, and this has led to a little bit of competition among the Saints personnel, as "everybody is on their toes, everybody is sharp, everybody is very motivated to make a good impression", according to Hojbjerg.

With just two and a half weeks until the Premier League kicks-off, the next few training sessions and friendlies could shape who plays and who is stuck on the bench for the season.