The Slate Will Be Wiped Clean Under Hasenhuttl !
Wednesday, 5th Dec 2018 09:15
The anticipated arrival of Ralph Hasenhuttle could rejuvenate some players but could mean the end of their time at St Mary's for others, but the Austrian will decide with his own eyes and not on the past.
Ralph Hasenhuttl is known for a pressing style that starts from the front and goes right through the team, his formation can be fluid but the constant thread is that it is about pressing the opposition in the final third, winning the ball and damaging them.
This was the style of Mauricio Pochettino and to a lesser degree Ronald Koeman both liked to invite the opposition on and then go on the break.
But both had one component in their team that Hasenhuttl won't have and that is a solid defence that can soak up pressure and then get the ball to start the counter attack and this is a key element that initially at least the Austrian will have to work around till January when surely we will sign a central defender.
Hasenhuttl will come n and give all his squad a clean slate, his opinion of the players will start from his first training session and he won't care what the players have done before, tat does not matter, it is now all about what they do going forward.
This is also the mindset the supporters have to have they have to forget what has gone on in the past couple of years and look at each individual player freshly.
It cannot be denied that some if not most have been underperforming in that time, but there are extenuating circumstances for that, mainly based around the past three managers styles.
The issue at the back is going to be about our ability to defend counter attacks and this has been the problem since Fonte left and van Dijk was injured, we have had no one at the back who can organise a back four and stop us being exposed on the break.
This cost Claude Puel his job, after losing both his central defenders he realised that he could not commit to attack and changed his style to a totally defensive strategy that was more about protecting the two central defenders than pressing forward.
With the crowd demanding a more attacking and entertaining side after Puel went, Pellegrino and Hughes were under pressure to give the fans what they wanted and ultimately they did not have the squad to do this, the defence was not good enough or more importantly the centre of it as both Bertrand and Cedric played in our top six season.
In midfield we will perhaps revert to a similar formation to Koeman with two central midfielders sitting in front of the back four one in front of them and then two wide men supporting a central striker. In Lemina, Hojbjerg, Romeu, James Ward Prowse & Stuart Armstrong we have five proven players for three positions and two of them will surely be glad to see the back of Hughes who had frozen them out of the team.
Sadly I think Steven Davis will go in January and he can quite rightly be considered a club legend, but he hasn't got the legs for 90 minutes of hard pressing play and I think he will be allowed to leave and rejoin Glasgow Rangers.
Attacking wise we have the tools at Hasenhuttl's disposal, Nathan Redmond will finally get to play his best role and the one he was bought for, he showed for the first goal on Saturday that he can run at players and create chances, likewise Shane Long could play a vital role in what might be his swansong for the club, Hasenhuttl's formation is made for him, Long was often the unsung hero alongside Pelle & Mane, but he wasn't far behind either in the scoring stakes but well ahead of them in what he did in the lead up to goals.
Danny Ing's is also a natural for the way we will play, fast pacy and able to link play and Michael Obafemi is a raw talent that needs to be nurtured but could explode into life at any time.
The only player perhaps not suited to the style is Charlie Austin, or at least that will be the popular view, people will say he is too slow to chase and press, but then again Pelle nor Rickie Lambert before him were known for their pace and ability to close down defenders yet they prospered in the style that Hasenhuttl will employ so perhaps there is room for Austin at least in the short term.
I have always maintained that this squad with a good quality central defender who can organise and lead the team is good enough for a top ten finish and a foundation to build upon, as I have said the slate needs to be wiped clean and everyone given the chance to show what they can really do.
The manager will certainly do that, if he can do it so should the fans, judge on what we do going forward and not what has happened in the past, if we don't do that then we can never move forward we will remain rooted in the past.
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