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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.

Photo: Action Images

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LoisDeem added 09:29 - Dec 5
This style of play will immediately benefit Manola Gabbiadini, a highly intelligent striker who still shines despite being properly misused.

LesVivian added 09:30 - Dec 5
Good analysis, except that Austin is not even close to Pelle, and especially Lambert, in the ability to bring in other players after receiving the ball. I am afraid that he is a championship player who has made the utmost of his chance at the top level, but cannot provide what we need. He is behind the likes of Glenn Murray and Troy Deeney who are similar players.

SaintNick added 10:00 - Dec 5
LesVivian - What did I say about wiping the slate clean

davidargyll added 10:20 - Dec 5
100% agree with almost all that, even down to what I presume was a typo in the 2nd paragraph “tat does not matter...”
It will be interesting to see whether our defence does need augmenting or Ralph can get a quart out of the pint pot that is the current bunch.
I do think though we need to be patient. Look how long it took for Klopp to get Southpool into a top team. If we end the season inside the top half this season I will be really pleased, as I reckon low teens is more realistic.

Hugh_Jarce added 10:46 - Dec 5
Does wiping the slate clean include Yoshi then Nick?

AndrewW_London added 10:54 - Dec 5
Thanks for the great article.
I’ve been supporting the Saints since the 1973-4 season, when they were relegated into the old Second Division. Despite the gloom that gathered then, and again after we dropped down into League 1, more recently, this current period is probably the most depressing I’ve endured.
There was so much hope at the club under Pochetino and Koeman but that has all but disappeared. It would be diastrous if we go down again. I just hope that Ralph H. can turn it around. You’re bang on, though, about our defence, which is currently far too porous. The January transfer window will be vital for us as we definitely need to strengthen that area of the team. I’d also like us to bring in a proven goal scorer.
Let’s just hope that the tide has turned!

kenis added 11:31 - Dec 5
Vestergaard, Hoedt, Yoshida, Stephens, Bednarek. We aren’t going to buy another central defender. No one is knocking on the door for one of those five, and we’ve only just bought the first two really. Under Pochettino and Koeman we had Schneiderlin and Wanyama covering and Wanyama often dropped back into defence during games when the cb got pulled out of position. Hoijbjerg and Lemina don’t do that and offer the same protection generally and Romeu not had a look in under Pell or Hughes. With a front six pressing and winning the ball back, I think we and the club will be expecting to see the existing players perform better. Vestergaard looks off the pace, but he hasn’t played so is it just about match fitness and adapting in his first season? Hoedt is error prone but his distribution is ok and with cover from around him can do a job and what’s happened to Bednarek?

HythePeer added 11:42 - Dec 5
Hopefully he can teach the defenders to watch their player not the ball.

aceofthebase added 12:26 - Dec 5
If he continues to play Cedric and Hoedt then we are doomed and so is he.

saintfrance added 12:50 - Dec 5
Totally disagree with aceofthebase re Cedric, when used properly he's a great overlapping player with a good cross on him, also agree with loisdeem re Gabbiadini. Personally I want to know where is the leader on the pitch coming from, I don't see any natural leader in the team!!

underweststand added 13:31 - Dec 5
As for the headline about..." wiping the slate clean " you might also have added that after the next few weeks, we might also expect to see a few clean sheets (under RH) that's if he can get the defence to get their act together.

By January , we can expect to see ."the new broom sweeping clean " especially if he is looking to bring in some of his own favourite players (at a reasonable cost, that is).
One or two of those who regularly sit on the bench might justifiably be looking elsewhere to further their careers.

The one saving grace is that RH was a goalscorer in his playing days (with a reasonable strike record) and we can hope that he can instill a few home truths into our strike force.

The likes of Puel and Pellegrino had long careers as defensive minded players with the hope of keeping clean sheets and (maybe) grabbing the odd goal - that doesn't work as we have seen twice over since Koeman's departure.

A brief look at the coming month's fixture list shows that Ralph will have a very short " honeymoon period" as new manager, as we cannot afford to be sitting so close to the bottom of the table come January...if we are one can only fear the inevitable "R" word.

aceofthebase added 13:40 - Dec 5
saintfrance Cedric is a defender, that's his first responsibility and he is useless as a defender. If attack is his better game than I suggest he goes somewhere else as he has cost us too many points.

highfield49 added 14:12 - Dec 5
I'm wondering if Bertrand will now make a somewhat rapid return from his back injury.

LoisDeem added 14:25 - Dec 5
Disregarding injuries, the next two line ups will make interesting reading.
Where is Bednarek?

SanMarco added 14:39 - Dec 5
Sorry for the cynicism but 'clean slates' don't make good players out of poor ones. Although many of our players might be good enough there are a significant minority that aren't. I would be delighted if the new manager proves me wrong but I will not hold my breath just in case.

Nick makes a good point about Puel - his pragmatism and shrewd assessment of the situation once we were without a central defence cost him his job but it got us 8th rather than a relegation struggle.

1970 added 16:28 - Dec 5
I've been moaning for a couple of years about everything wrong with saints and now at last some cheer this guy seems what we fans would of appointed ourselves I hope he gets to grips with the prem pace and our dire defenders,
I had to laugh Nick when you mentioned "our ability to defend counter attacks " what about corners, free kicks or strikers just unchallenged in our penalty area lol good article though Nick
onwards and up-wards coyr.

halftimeorange added 16:34 - Dec 5
The current bunch haven't gelled under MH, nor his predecessor. Herr Hasenhüttl will need to get the players to be positive, get fit and perform consistently as a team. We have a few decent players but, more who are not really EPL standard, and we need a hold-up man who is prepared to take a bruising in every game, like Pelle and Lambert both did. Centre of defence and the position in front of the defence once successfully filled by Romeu need attending to with alacrity.

ExiledSupporter added 16:36 - Dec 5
Yes, wipe the slate clean and bring back Boufal (our most talented but also most wayward forward) and Carillo (the player nearest to a target man) asap

Carillo and Gabiadini as two up front with Redmond on the right and Boufal on the left and two from three of Armstrong, Lemina and Hojberg would be an exciting team going forward, but still weak at defending!

LoisDeem added 09:59 - Dec 6
Bednarek's absence is steadily making him prime contender for Player of the Season (so far)
The new Ralph will have to earn his money.
Wipe the slate clean of complacency.
Cleanse throughout with (a ring of?) confidence.
New broom might mean a sweeper, or certainly more coordination from the back.
Polish off with a victory, and we will continue to clean up.

wibbersda added 14:01 - Dec 6
ExiledSupporter....I like it, good call.

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