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Hasenhuttl enraged after Southampton loss to Cardiff City

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Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl was fuming after Saints threw away the point it looked to have won in stoppage time versus Cardiff City on Saturday.

“We did it last week and the same again today,” Hasenhuttl said. “If we don’t stop this then we’ve no chance of staying in the league.”

[ MORE: Recap | Cardiff remembers Sala ]

Saints will finish the weekend in the relegation zone if Burnley gets a point or better at Brighton and Hove Albion (the Clarets have an early 1-0 lead), and Hasenhuttl says the Bottom Three will be their fate without improved resolve.

On Feb. 2, it was a penalty in stoppage time that allowed Burnley to draw Southampton 1-1. Groundhog Day in reverse.

This week, Jack Stephens scored in the first minute of stoppage time only to see Cardiff City’s Kenneth Zohore score in the third minute of stoppage to claim all three points.

“It can feel like a win if you take a draw like that, and then you give it away in a way. That’s stupid and unbelievable for me.”

Cardiff has climbed ahead of Southampton as well, and Saints next face Arsenal, Fulham, Manchester United, and Tottenham Hotspur. There’s four points in there if Hasenhuttl’s men are very fortunate. Zero might just end it.

Hasenhuttl “unbelievably proud” of Southampton’s warriors

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Ralph Hasenhuttl hailed his 10-man Southampton side for digging deep to win away at Leicester City and drag themselves out of the relegation zone. 

Saints were 2-0 up at half time but had Yan Valery sent off in the 45th minute, putting them up against it in the second half. Leicester had 85 percent possession and 19 attempts at goal in the second period, but scored just once as Saints put in a valiant defensive display to secure a huge three points.

Speaking after the game, Hasenhuttl praised the mentality of his players and suggested they rather enjoyed the challenge.

“The second half was getting in the same compact with the defense and to try to defend,” Hasenhuttl said. “This manner and mainly the passion and the mentality was the winner of this game today. I thought we got too early 2-1, so it would be a long time then to get something here. The players enjoyed it. They felt the way we defend it is very difficult for the opponents to score. The longer the game went on, the more stable we were.”

Hasenhuttl also told BBC’s Match of the Day that he is “unbelievably proud” of his players.

“To be manager of this team, it’s a fantastic job,” Hasenhuttl said. “Today they showed their quality. To go 2-0 in the lead at Leicester is not easy and we defended with fantastic commitment.”

This feels like a massive moment in Southampton’s season.

Saints have dropped more points from winning positions than any other team in the Premier League this season but their players stood up to the challenge and were calm despite being pegged back to 2-1 with over 30 minutes remaining. Jan Bednarek, Oriol Romeu, Long, Jannik Vestergaard and Jack Stephens were all impressive as they made sure Hasenhuttl will have a selection dilemma in the weeks to come.

They were without regulars Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Charlie Austin (both suspended), Danny Ings, Michael Obafemi, Mario Lemina, Ryan Bertrand (all injured) and Maya Yoshida (on international duty at the Asian Cup) and had eight players from their famed academy in their 18-man squad. Callum Slattery made his Premier League debut as a sub, while Sam Gallagher played his first minutes of the PL season late on as Hasenhuttl’s squad was stretched to the limit.

No matter who was out there Saints’ players showed they are fighting for their new manager, and Hasenhuttl has now won three of his first seven PL games as Southampton manager. That equals as many victories as Mark Hughes, the man he replaced, managed in 22 matches as Saints boss.

Hasenhuttl has momentum and Southampton now have a favorable run of games with Everton, Crystal Palace and Cardiff City at home, plus a trip to Burnley. The next few weeks are pivotal for their chances of not only staying in the Premier League but pushing themselves into midtable.

Premier League Preview: Southampton v. West Ham

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  • Saints, Irons have split last six meetings
  • 15 combined goals in last 4 head-to-head
  • West Ham leads all-time 41W-30D-34L

Two teams who watched the Boxing Day festivities on television now take center stage at St. Mary’s when Southampton hosts West Ham United on Thursday (Watch live at 2:45 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

Manuel Pellegrini‘s Irons are coming off a disappointing end to their four-match win streak, and probably deserved better than the weekend’s loss to Watford.

Meanwhile, Southampton has looked much better under new manager Ralph Hasenhuttl and can climb another spot by winning at home on Thursday.

West Ham can rise as high as ninth with a win, while Saints can leapfrog Newcastle into 15th.

What they’re saying

Saints boss Hasenhuttl on the refining the dynamic: “We had a very good video session after Huddersfield and looked at a few things from the game. There were a lot of good moments in our game, but also a few where we can defend better. You always have to improve your game and your automatisms and I think that was important to look at.”

West Ham’s in-form Robert Snodgrass on Boxing Day“My wife and my kids are used to it now and we will spend the time we get together smiling, opening presents and playing games like most families, and I’m certainly not the only person who had to go to work on Christmas Day. As a player, you want to play games, you want to kick on and you want to push forward. The way we’re playing this season, it’s a building process and we want to keep on creating chances and most weeks we’ll take them and get more points.”

Prediction

Goals for both sets of supporters, and a 1-1 draw at St. Mary’s.

Hasenhuttl praises ‘uncompromising’ Saints; Ings, Austin hail win

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To say that fiery Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl was happy to snag his first Premier League win was an understatement.

And perhaps Hasenhuttl was understated himself in celebrating Saints’ first goal of Sunday’s 3-2 win over Arsenal, but he made up for it on the other two markers and after the final whistle saw Southampton move out of the drop zone.

[ RECAP: Southampton 3-2 Arsenal ]

“It’s amazing what the team can do in a week,” Hasenhuttl said. “It was very intensive, we had time to work on the basics and built the fundamentals for our game. I’m very proud of how focused and uncompromising they were, and when they had the chances, how merciless they were.”

Match-winner Charlie Austin, whose winning goal came with just minutes to play, gives his new boss credit for the victory.

“It’s great,” Austin said. “The gaffer’s brought in new ideas and it’s not just changed things in the changing room but around the whole club.”

“A new manager comes in. The lads get a rocket and start expressing themselves.”

Striker Danny Ings scored twice in the win before Austin nabbed the winner. For Ings, it was his first brace since Nov. 2014 when he was with Burnley.

The hometown hero, once released from the club as a youth, is maintaining a steady gait in the face of a rare win.

“We knew those crosses would be dangerous, we’ve been working on them all week, and I was there to put them away.”

“As a club we know the position we’ve put ourselves, and with the squad we’ve got it’s not good enough,” Ings said. “But if we keep showing resilience and hard work we can turn it round. It shows we’re moving in the right direction already.”

Saints go to Huddersfield Town next in a crucial clash near the bottom of the table, and a visit from in-form West Ham follows the relegation six-pointer.

 

Hasenhuttl: Saints’ philosophy ‘perfect fit’

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SOUTHAMPTON — Ralph Hasenhuttl has a way with words and he is determined to turn Southampton’s fortunes around.

But he knows it will not be easy.

“If you want guarantees you have to buy a washing machine! In football there are no guarantees…” Hasenhuttl said, smiling.

He faced the media for the first time in England on Thursday and dazzled fans with his quick wit and amiable nature. The Austrian will need plenty of that in the weeks and months to come, but the mood at Southampton’s Staplewood training center seemed upbeat just 24 hours after his arrival was confirmed.

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Hasenhuttl, 51, has a huge task on his hands to drag Southampton up the Premier League table, out of the relegation zone and to give the entire club a new vision for the future.

The Premier League’s first-ever Austrian head coach said he is aligned with Saints’ overall plan to develop young talent and to punch above their weight against the PL’s big boys, and Hasenhuttl knows his first task is to drag them out of the drop zone.

“The history and the philosophy of this team fits nearly perfect to my philosophy of how to work in football,” Hasenhuttl explained. “So it was a good decision for me and I’m sure it is a good one.”

Known as a proactive coach who prefers a 4-2-2-2 formation, Hasenhuttl was nicknamed ‘The Klopp of the Alps’ in Germany during his time at Ingolstadt and RB Leipzig.

He brushed off those comparisons but there are many similarities in terms of their demeanor and intense nature. Hasenhuttl also revealed he and Klopp learned together when getting their coaching badges in Germany, and he made fun of Liverpool’s German coach for saying his name translated to nothing.

“His German is not very good because his English is maybe better than his German now!” Hasenhuttl smiled. “I was laughing about his explaining of my name and it’s hard to pronounce for you.”

In case you were wondering, Hasenhuttl loosely translates to “small rabbit house” in English.

Like Klopp, Hasenhuttl demands high levels of fitness and high-pressing from his team and when asked if he would be bringing in plenty of new players in January, he preferred to challenge his current squad to stick around.

If they are up to it.

“We just had a look at the players we have now. I want to bring them to their limits,” Hasenhuttl said. “I don’t know where there limits are and if they like to go this way with us they are invited to and when they follow us it will be an intensive, hard working way. When everyone is pushing his limits to a higher level, then we can see how far it will get us. When someone says ‘it is it too much running for or too much work for me’ they will fall very quickly beside us. That’s how I want to work until January and then we have a look.”

The group of players he has at Southampton have just one win from their first 15 games of the season.

Ahead of his first game in charge against Cardiff City on Saturday (Watch live 10 a.m. ET online via NBCSports.com), Hasenhuttl admitted with a lack of training days ahead it will be tough for him to turn things around quickly.

Saints have six games in just over three weeks, with matches against Arsenal, Manchester City and Chelsea among them during the busy festive period.

Despite those fixtures, Hasenhuttl expects his name to be known across the globe very quickly indeed.

Fed up of walking around the Alps in his native Austria after leaving Leipzig at the end of last season, he’s now back to business.

“It is a big challenge for me but it is the next step in my career. It is my goal to get my name known here in the Premier League,” Hasenhuttl said. “I had a few successful years in Germany and when I left Leipzig in the summer I was thinking about my next step and I wanted to stand in front of a new team, with a new language to get developed personally and also in my view of football. That’s the reason I made this decision to come here, to come to Southampton. I had very good meetings with Ralph Krueger [Saints chairman], so for me it was relatively clear that I can help him in the situation the club is in at the moment.”

Drifting along over the past two years under four different managers, Saints have gone from being one of the best-run clubs in Europe to one that barely survived relegation last season and no longer has a clear playing identity or direction.

Hasenhuttl has been tasked with changing all of that as quickly as he can and he is not afraid about the daunting task ahead.

“It is tough with our schedule over Christmas. I am not frightened about it but the problem is we have a lot of games in the coming days,” Hasenhuttl said. “If you know me, I work on training sessions and habits and if you don’t have the chance to train it is not easy to change things in the team. We have just one training sessions tomorrow evening before the game. We will pay attention not to overload. My goal is to develop them [the players] as quick as possible but we have to pay attention.”

The Austrian has already held meetings with several different departments of the club ahead of meeting the players with his first training session on Thursday, as he got across his plan on how the club can succeed in the short and long-term.

Among soccer purists, Hasenhuttl back in the game is big news.

Austrian TV crews traveled to the suburbs of Southampton for the press conference and news outlets from across the UK were present as the hype around his appointment was clear. Promotions with upstart clubs, upsetting the odds and saving teams from relegation is the thing he seems to succeed at most.

“I want to put my footsteps in the snow here,” Hasenhuttl said, obviously not realizing he’s more likely to step in puddles in England. “I did it in the other clubs before and often had similar situations as we have at the moment and it’s back to the roots for me. Last year was maybe easier because I had a Champions League team and we were on a very high level with physical and tactical things. This step is not the easiest one but I never want easy in my life. I am always challenging myself. I am looking forward and I am not afraid of anything.”

Hasenhuttl delivered another witty line which suggests Southampton aren’t out of rocky waters just yet.

Asked what his first thought was after being approached by Southampton, Hasenhuttl referred to England’s South Coast city being where the Titanic set off on her ill-fated maiden voyage.  

“I was thinking about the Titanic leaving here, and I hope I don’t hit the first iceberg waiting for me,” Hasenhuttl said.