Hasenhüttl: We must keep developing

By SFC Media time Sat 31 Oct Aston Villa v Saints
Photo by Matt Watson | Ralph Hasenhüttl

Four games. Ten points. Southampton head to Aston Villa this Sunday in excellent form, but the hope of manager Ralph Hasenhüttl is that the development of his side will not stop here.

Saints earned a 2-0 home win over Premier League leaders Everton last weekend, lifting themselves up to seventh in the table, and they will now take on another of the early pace-setters, with Villa heading into the latest round of matches in third position following their own fine start to the 2020/21 campaign.

The last four games for Southampton have brought wins over Burnley and West Brom, a dramatic draw against Chelsea, and then victory over the Toffees, and Hasenhüttl has been encouraged by the progression he has seen from his team in that time.

"I think every part of our game has showed some very good moments," he said, as he reflected on that run. "We had also against Everton some moments where it didn't work perfectly, especially our game against the ball was not perfect in the beginning, and such a team shows you immediately the issues.

"But, in the end, we defended it well around the box and the rest of the game we played, especially in possession, one of our best games so far I think. It was very good with decision-making, game management, playing deep, creating chances, scoring wonderful goals, so it's definitely a good step forward and hopefully on the weekend we make the next one.

"I think it's not easier, it's getting tougher I think, and we must show that we can still develop our game, because we have to."

it seems the players are getting better.

ralph hasenhüttl
southampton manager

As for what the next stage in his team's development is, Hasenhüttl expanded on that.

"It's a combination of being calmer in possession, better positioning, learning how to use the space, speeding up the game when it's necessary, breaking through the lines and, in the end, also filling up the box with more players so that we have more chances to score," he said.

"This was the key of winning against Everton, and these are parts of our game we were working on in the last weeks and it seems the players are getting better."

And so to Villa. It was there last season that Saints produced one of their most important results of the campaign, winning 3-1 in their final game before Christmas, lifting themselves out of the relegation zone and sparking a run that would see the team pick up 13 points from a possible 15.

"It was important because we were both near the relegation zone, so it was a six-pointer and we definitely needed these points, and in the end it helped us to make a step forward," said Hasenhüttl.

"It was the start of a good run, and hopefully this game is not the end of a good one. So we must try to continue our good form and this is what we want to do there. It's important to go there and believe in what we are doing, but not think it's an easy one because we won last season two times against them, so we go there and expect the best possible opponent and against this we want to compete.

"We have seen the signings they have made. Barkley is a good one, Watkins definitely, and a few others – Cash at right-back is physically strong – so they have a few good signings, and in the end a very strong side. They seem better organised, better committed and it will be a very tough game for us.

"They had always with Grealish a player who is maybe one of the best in transition in the Premier League, but you cannot only concentrate on him. There are too many other players who can score and hurt you, so we need a very disciplined and concentrated performance, but we have shown this also against other strong sides and this is the goal for the weekend."

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