Thursday, January 23, 2020

Hasenhuttl deserves credit for turning things around at Southampton

David Nugent in Editorial, English Premier League 13 Jan 2020

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The most extraordinary result of the Premier League this season arguably came at the end of October when Leicester recorded a 9-0 mauling of Southampton at St Marys. On Saturday in the reverse fixture, Southampton regained a bit of pride, as Ralph Hasenhuttl’s team recorded an excellent 2-1 win at the King Power Stadium. It was no fluke either, as the Saints were by far the better team.

A big turnaround

The weekend victory against the Foxes means that Southampton are now unbeaten in five league games, having recorded four wins in the process. Incredibly, the team from the south coast are now just four points off the top-six in the Premier League table.

The Saints turnaround in recent weeks has been immense. Instead of looking nervously over their shoulders, they are now looking up the table and eying a top-half finish, which they are odds of 6/4 to achieve this season.

Head coach Ralph Hasenhuttl deserves big credit for the turnaround. The Austrian proved his managerial mettle at RB Leipzig in the Bundesliga, helping the then minnows to thrive and compete with German giants Bayern Munich.

The way that Southampton are playing now reflects their bosses football philosophy. The Saints have looked like a far bigger attacking threat under the Austrian and everybody connected with the club will be confident of progression.

Danny Ings is on fire

Southampton have struggled to find a prolific goalscorer in recent years, in turn struggling for goals. However, for the first time in many seasons, the Saints are not one of the lowest scorers in the Premier League.

One of the biggest reasons for Southampton’s improvement in goal output is the form of former-Liverpool striker Danny Ings. The 27-year-old has been plagued by injury throughout his career. However, he has been in red-hot form of late, scoring 14 times in 22 appearances this season in the Premier League.

His scoring form in recent months has particularly caught the eye, as he has now scored ten goals in his last 11 top-flight appearances for the Saints. His goalscoring form has led to for call for the striker to be part of Gareth Southgate’s next England squad.

On current form, there are very few strikers in the Premier League that are in more consistent form than the former Burnley star. An international call-up would be a just reward for not just his good form, but for also overcoming so many injury problems.

If Ings can continue in his current vein of form it will be hard for Southgate to ignore his claims for an international call-up. It would be his first call-up, as he made his debut in 2015, but that remains his only international appearance.

Southampton should now be able to push on

When Southampton appointed Ralph Hasenhuttl as their head coach, I have to admit I thought that the Saints had pulled off a major coup. Having watched the Austrian team’s style of football in the Bundesliga, he looked to an exciting appointment.

I have to admit I was surprised to see the team from the south coast struggled for results under Hasenhuttl, as he seemed to be a man with a lot of coaching acumen and a shrewd tactician. The recent upturn in fortunes has shown that the Austrian’s coaching skills.

Not only does the head coach deserve praise, but the Saints hierarchy also deserves praise for sticking with him. Many other clubs would have fired him and moved on. However, they could see his managerial ability.

With the team in good form now, Southampton should now be looking up the table rather than over their shoulders.

Can Ralph Hasenhuttl guide Southampton to a top-half finish this season?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Nugent


David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The experienced writer has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.

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