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Rodriguez happy with two-goal start

PUBLISHED

12:08 18th July 2013

Jay Rodriguez says he's glad to be off the mark for the season after notching a brace in last night's friendly win over UE Llagostera.

The frontman played the first 68 minutes of the game, scoring either side of David Cano's equaliser as Saints ran out 2-1 winners over the Spanish Segunda Divsión B side.

With 19 outfield players available to Mauricio Pochettino yesterday, the manager's plan to play two different XIs in each half was altered somewhat.

And it was Rodriguez – along with James Ward-Prowse – who was given the extra playing time, as the pair split the second-half duties.

The striker's second goal arrived just as he was about to be replaced, and he says he's glad that the extra minutes on the pitch allowed him to get his campaign off to a fruitful start.

"It's always good to score in your first game and to get running in pre-season," Rodriguez told Saints Player after the game.

"I was told that I'd be playing a bit extra, but you just get on with it. It's good for myself to get the extra fitness. 

"I just need to keep improving as much as I can so I'm ready for the season ahead, because it's going to be tough like every season is in the Premier League.

"It was a good run-out for the team and a good fitness workout as well because it's different to playing uncompetitive games in training.

"We had a few chances to put them away, but I think that's down to rustiness with it being our first game," continued the 23-year-old. 

"Our all-round play was really good and we worked hard. They were a good side that worked hard and tried to play some good football, but I think we've worked on our fitness and it showed in the end.

"I think every time you go on the pitch – no matter who you're against or what you're playing for – everyone wants to win. Your mentality has to be to win but, in these games, the real focus is getting match fitness."

jay rodriguez llagostera in story
Rodriguez scores his second goal in Saints' 2-1 win over UE Llagostera

Today is the First Team's seventh day in Catalonia, where they have been training since last Friday.

And Jay says there has been the perfect blend of hard work and team bonding so far, ahead of the team's second friendly this weekend, when they visit Palamós.

"I think the lads have taken well to it," he said. "We're all enjoying the hard work because we all know it's good for us. 

"It's been a good trip so far. It's nice to work hard and then have a bit of time for team bonding. 

"Now we'll train hard up until the weekend to keep trying to improve our fitness and sharpness ahead of the game on Saturday, where hopefully we'll get another win and another good performance."

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