Ronald Koeman says there will be no repeat of last season’s 8-0 win over Sunderland this time round, against a Black Cats side “fighting for their lives”.
Saints famously demolished their opponents in a record-breaking performance at St Mary’s in October 2014, tying their largest ever win since becoming a Football League club in the 1920s.
Sunderland, now managed by Sam Allardyce and who edged out of the relegation zone this week, return this Saturday to face Koeman’s side for the first time since that day.
However, the Saints boss expects this to be a far tougher afternoon for his players.
"That was fantastic, but it will not happen anymore normally,” Koeman told Southampton’s official YouTube channel.
“It was a fantastic day, but it was not a normal result for the Premier League and ok it will be more tough now – they are fighting against relegation.
"We had at that moment the belief, the quality, the level in our team. They were struggling, they were a little bit unsure about themselves and we scored fast goals in the first half and that made the game more easy.
“It happened last year, but it will not happen this time. It's totally different. They're fighting against relegation and they fight for life and that's a different game.”
Koeman added: "They make some changes in the team, some new players in the transfer window of January. That makes the team a little bit stronger.
“They are still dangerous, with [Jermain] Defoe in front. They have good players, fast players and they play counter attack.”