Garry Monk readily accepts that Swansea have suffered a "scare" in the Barclays Premier League this season.
The Swans go into their final home game of the campaign against Saints tomorrow, knowing they are safe from relegation worries.
But they only left the danger zone behind them after posting successive victories against Newcastle and Aston Villa last month.
"It is a season we have learnt loads from," said former Saints defender Monk.
"You need to go through tough times to improve as players and as a club, to have that scare that we have had over recent months.
"It is important that we learn from it. A lot of the players had never experienced relegation troubles and the pressure that comes with it. It is a totally different pressure to playing where we have been in recent years.
"That will stand them and the club in really good stead. I think the club has had a scare this season, there is no two ways about it. It is something we've not had for 10 years."
A 4-1 demolition of Villa ensured Swansea's top-flight status for another campaign, and while Monk must now wait to see if he will gain board level approval as Michael Laudrup's long-term managerial successor, it is a case of mission accomplished with regard to staying up.
"You can just see the cloud lifted, not just with the players and the staff, but around the city. I think everyone has got smiles on their faces," he added.
"We realise there are still two games to go, that there is a job to do, and we want to break that 40-point barrier.
"For the standards that we've set, we want better. The way we have progressed over the last 10 years, the expectation level is much higher than what we are right now.
"If we can break that 40-point barrier now - the so-called special total - that's the aim.
"It has been a very long season. If you are a neutral, it has probably been the best season in the Premier League's history. With bizarre results here and there and different situations on and off the field, it has made for good viewing.
"It's been a very long season. Ultimately, I don't think disappointing is the right term, but football changes so quickly.
"The two results we've just had changes the whole complexion, but if we can finish in the 40 points bracket then it would be hard to say it has been disappointing.
"All I care about is that the team does as well as possible and you get the maximum out of every single player."
For Monk, Saturday's appointment with the Saints will represent a red-letter day.
He started his playing career at Southampton, and he said: "I've got a lot of friends left in Southampton from my time there.
"That is where I learnt my trade alongside some fantastic players. It's a brilliant club, one that I have a lot of time for."
There will not be any sentiment on show, though, as Monk looks for Swansea to complete their campaign with potentially four successive league wins through victories over Newcastle, Villa, Southampton and finally Sunderland.
And Monk will remain in touch with two former Swansea managers now working on Merseyside - Brendan Rodgers and Roberto Martinez - as he continues on a learning curve.
"Brendan and Roberto have been brilliant with me. I speak to them regularly, with texts and calls. I spoke to Brendan last week," he added.
"Going forward, if I do get the job, I am pretty sure if I needed to call upon them for whatever reason then great.
"But I am not relying on anyone but myself. I don't rely on someone else to do something for me, I like to go out and do it myself."