Southampton boss Claude Puel hopes the Europa League becomes a regular fixture at St Mary’s.
Saints take on Sparta Prague in their Europa League opener on Thursday, with Hapoel Be’er Sheva and Inter Milan joining them in Group K.
Puel says Saints must target regular European football in the years ahead, rather than view their participation in the tournament this season as a one-off.
He told the Daily Echo: “I think it’s not easy for the Europa League because the teams are used to play this game. For example, Sparta Prague play every season the Champions League or the Europa League and it’s important to play this game for good experience for the team.
“For many players it’s the first time and difficult with the emotion of this game.
“Sparta Prague have many chances to play this game every season. These players play every time for a good position in their championship.
“It’s always important to have a good experience and many possibilities.
“For us it will be important for the future to experience this and to play another campaign of the Europa League for next season for example.
“It’s very important to get good experience every time and not just to play in this competition for one season and then two, three, four seasons without – for me and the team and for us.”
Puel is still seeking his first competitive victory as Southampton boss as they have managed two draws and two defeats from four Premier League games to date.