Southampton: Ralph Hasenhuttl wants Saints to be 'nasty'

Ralph Hasenhuttl
Ralph Hasenhuttl won 44% of his first 16 games at Southampton but has only won 15% of his last 20 matches

Ralph Hasenhuttl says Southampton must become a "nasty team" again to recover from their poor Premier League start and climb out of the bottom three.

The Saints, who have eight points from 12 matches, have gone seven games without a win and also have the worst defensive record in the top flight.

"We know we only have a chance if we stay brave," Hasenhuttl told Football Focus.

"It's about finding the way back to the track that we have been successful on."

Southampton's current plight bears a striking resemblance to the one Hasenhuttl inherited, almost 12 months on from his appointment as manager.

Last term the Saints were also second from bottom and three points from safety after 12 matches.

But a victory over Arsenal in his second game in charge, which the 52-year-old described as the "best feeling", kick-started a recovery that eventually saw them finish 16th, five points clear of the relegation zone.

And while Southampton have not been helped by a demanding set of fixtures this season - they have played all the current top eight, bar the Gunners who they face on Saturday - the Austrian is also conscious his side have been too easy to play against at times.

"We must go back to being a nasty team when we don't have the ball," he said.

"My team believes one result can be the change but to get this one result it needs a lot of investment and input in our mindset on the pitch."

'It was a brutal moment'

Hasenhuttl arrived on the south coast with a reputation for a high-energy, pressing style.

His methods brought success at former clubs Ingolstadt and RB Leipzig, whom he guided to a second-place finish in the Bundesliga in his first season in charge.

So he was unaccustomed to the "brutal" 9-0 defeat at home to Leicester in October, something he thought "could never happen" but a moment he nevertheless hopes to use positively.

"It must be an important game for my managerial career," he said.

"At first you think it can never happen to you. I know I will speak a lot of times about this game in the future, and hopefully in a way that I can say, 'it was a brutal moment' but it helped us to fight together, show a reaction and stay where we wanted to stay.

"This is what we are here for - it's not always the sunshine job, it's not always the celebrating with the fans job. It is sometimes walking off the pitch with another defeat and standing up again.

"The pressure is always there and you make most of the pressure yourself because you invest so much preparing the team. It's more like a breather when you take points or have done a good job.

"The reason you are sometimes so disappointed is that you have disappointed your fans. You wanted to give them a fantastic weekend, a fantastic evening and you didn't. It kills you mentally in that moment."

Watch the full interview on Football Focus at 12:00 GMT, Saturday 21 November on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.

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