Catch up on all the latest from around Southampton Football Club with our weekly Monday Briefing...
Hasenhüttl pleased with performance against City
Southampton may have lost to Manchester City on Saturday, with Raheem Sterling scoring the only goal of the game at St Mary’s, but Ralph Hasenhüttl was not at all dissatisfied with his team’s performance, as they gave Pep Guardiola’s side a real run for their money.
“I think it was a better game from our side than in the summer when we won 1-0,” he said. “Today we played better.
“We were braver and had a lot of pressure on them, but what was lacking today was the quality in the final third, with the final passes and final chances.
“We had a few good ones, but it was always a few inches away or where their defender was aware of the area, so it was tough to score.”
Guardiola full of praise for Saints
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola was complimentary of Southampton following Saturday’s meeting at St Mary’s, with some notable praise for James Ward-Prowse.
“I must say how impressed I was with Southampton and there is a reason they are where they are,” Guardiola said in his post-match press conference. “They are so, so good and then run behind, fantastic and such an important win for us.
“You can see the quality with their build-up, the four guys in the middle, the two central defenders and they put a lot of fast players into the high pressing and they play really good. They put a lot of players inside; they provoke you to be narrow. It’s difficult. They don’t allow you to be compact, that’s why they are so good. That’s why they’re creating problems.
“They have the best free-kick taker I have seen in my life in Ward-Prowse. Their position in the table, Ralph is doing an excellent job.”
Ings suffers hamstring injury
Saints lost Danny Ings to injury late in the first half of the meeting with Manchester City, and, while the extent of that is still to be confirmed, manager Ralph Hasenhüttl did explain after the match what the injury was.
“It’s a hamstring problem,” he said. “I’m not sure how much, but it’s clear we were taking a risk with another game for 90 minutes when he has played twice in the week after the long injury, so we hope it’s not too bad.”
Hasenhüttl will hold his pre-match press conference ahead of the Fulham game on Wednesday, and we’ll bring you any update he gives on Ings.
Romeu to serve ban, Diallo set to feature
Oriol Romeu picked up his fifth yellow card of the season during the 1-0 loss to Manchester City, resulting in a one-match suspension for the midfielder.
His foul on Ferran Torres late in the first half earned a caution from referee Mike Dean, meaning he will now miss the Boxing Day trip to Fulham, with Ralph Hasenhüttl expecting summer signing Ibrahima Diallo to replace him for that match.
“Now Ibrahima gets the chance to play and it’s good that we have him,” said the Saints boss.
Women’s fixture postponed
Southampton FC Women had been due to visit Cheltenham Town for a FA Women’s National League Division One South West league fixture on Sunday, but the game was postponed due to the new tiering system implemented by the government.
Marieanne Spacey-Cale’s team now head into their Christmas break, with the side next due to be in action when they host Plymouth Argyle in the second round of the FA Cup, at AFC Totton, on Sunday 3rd January, at 2pm GMT.
Under-18s also miss out
Southampton’s youngsters had been due to host their West Ham United counterparts on Saturday, but that game was also postponed due to a small number of positive COVID-19 tests at the London club.
As with the Women’s fixture against Cheltenham, a new date will be announced in due course.
January fixtures confirmed
All of Southampton’s January fixtures have now been confirmed, with Saints seeing a host of evening games throughout the month.
Premier League television picks were confirmed last week, meaning the schedule now looks as follows:
Mon 4: Saints vs Liverpool, 8pm GMT
Sat 9: Saints vs Shrewsbury, 8pm GMT (FA Cup third round)
Sat 16: Leicester vs Saints, 8pm GMT
Wed 20: Leeds vs Saints, 6pm GMT
Tue 26: Saints vs Arsenal, 8:15pm GMT
Sat 30: Saints vs Aston Villa, 8pm GMT