Captain James Ward-Prowse has “complete confidence” Southampton can make a speedy return to the Premier League after their painful relegation.
The Saints’ fate was sealed by Saturday’s listless 2-0 defeat by Fulham – the club’s 24th league defeat in a single season.
England midfielder Ward-Prowse has been at Southampton since he was eight but it is already being linked with a summer move from St Mary’s.
The 28-year-old, who insists he “doesn’t think too far ahead” about his own future, is optimistic the Saints will recover from ceding the pinnacle status they’ve held since 2012.
“(I have) full confidence, I think the club were there and made it,” he told the Southampton website.
“The squad we have now is incredibly young and they still have a lot to learn.
“They will have learned a lot from this year and next year I’m sure the club will do everything they can to be back in the Premier League.”
Southampton have found themselves in a precarious position during what has been a mostly miserable season, having consistently finished in the bottom three since early November.
Second-half goals from Fulham duo Carlos Vinicius and Aleksandar Mitrovic forced Ruben Selles’ side offside with two games to go.
Spaniard Selles became the team’s third manager this season, following the sackings of Ralph Hasenhuttl and Nathan Jones.
Ward-Prowse concedes the warning signs have been there for a long time and admits the Saints ended up entering the Sky Bet Championship with a whimper.
“Honestly, that’s something we’ve been afraid of for a while,” he said.
“We haven’t reached the level that I think we should have in the past few years and I think this season has caught up with us.
“There’s a way of losing games, there’s a way of maybe failing in sports and I think the way we’ve done it this year is disappointing.”
“I don’t feel like we really fought and gave everything we could.
“I feel for the fans because they don’t deserve to see what we’ve produced this season and that’s the sad thing.”
The victory for Fulham was the club’s 15th record in a Premier League season and cemented their place in the top half of the game.
Winger Harry Wilson, who has been involved in every Cottagers goal on the south coast, is hoping to add to an impressive 51 points tally ahead of a home game against Crystal Palace and a trip to Manchester United.
“I wasn’t aware of that, but we deserved it all season,” he said of the record.
“We showed that we can win in different ways. The record of 15 wins is great.
“We’ll definitely enjoy them (the last two games) but we also know there’s a lot to play and we want to make sure we get two wins.”
Substitute Mitrovic returned with a bang after his eight-game suspension by heading home seven minutes after bringing on fellow goalscorer Vinicius.
The Serbia striker was fined for assaulting referee Chris Kavanagh during his side’s 3-1 FA Cup defeat at Old Trafford in March.
After the heated Cup exit that saw Mitrovic, Willian and manager Marco Silva sent off, Wilson is already plotting revenge against United last weekend.
“We were really good for 70 minutes and we all know what happened,” he said of that game.
“We feel like in a way we owe them something because that day we felt like maybe we should have gone with something.”