"I think it was important for our fans and for the pundits to see that last week's performance showed we can compete against anyone," Fonte told the club's official website.
"Although we didn't get any points, we gained a lot of confidence for our next few matches – that's important as well.
"We'd seen a few glimpses of the potential we have in pre-season, but when the first game is played and you put in a good performance, that's when you say 'wow, we have something special going on here'. Now it's time to transform that into points."
Southampton face West Bromwich Albion in their first home match of the season later today.