Saints V Everton The Verdict
Sunday, 20th Jan 2019 10:51
Ralph Hasenhuttl called for passion in the stands, he got it both on and off the pitch as Saints stormed to a well deserved victory.
There were no real shocks in Ralph's starting line up aside from Stuart Armstrong dropping down to the bench for the returning Danny Ings for the first game in what will be a season defining run of games.
These days there is a different look to the Saints team, you can see the confidence, the passion the determination and the attitude oozing out and it is hard to believe how different we are now how we where only six weeks ago.
Several players are really starting to blossom under the Austrian manager and it has to be said that James Ward Prowse is one of them, a month ago some were predicting that JWP was heading for the exit door in January having never really grasped his potential and turned himself into an indispensable member of the team.
It's early days but Ward Prowse seems a different player under Hasenhuttl and against Everton he seemed to have matured, he was taking the game by the horns and truly influencing the outcome, not only scoring a great goal that saw him win the ball with grit and determination but creating chances for others.
Now Saints play a different style it suits JWP as he can now play forward passes to Danny Ings who thrives on through balls.
But it was not just all about JWP this was a team performance and Saints battled an Everton team who are as good as it gets outside of the top six and firstly blunted their game and then put the squeeze on them.
It was a deserved win with everyone playing their part the only lapse being right on 90 minutes when Everton got an unlikely goal and suddenly came to life in injury time helped by the referee suddenly deciding to add a few minutes on top of the four announced, yes there may have been three minutes for Shane Long's head injury but not five.
The win was built on a strong central midfield pairing with virtually nothing to choose between JWP & Pierre Emile Hojbjerg leading by example, Romeu working tirelessly add to that a lively Danny Ings and Nathan Redmond who if he continues his current form might just get another England call up plus a determined defence when called upon and you have a perfect team performance.
Everton though did give us a helping hand and were doing there best to score for us in the first half hitting a post before actually toeing in what proved to be the winning goal.
Once we opened the scoring the fans chipped in, they created an atmosphere at St Mary's not seen for a long while, they kept the team going when it mattered, they would not let the players drop their tempo, Ralph asked for passion, it took a little while to get it going, but it kicked in when it mattered.
Now we can start to look for a vital run of three games where we play teams around us, two wins out of three would see relegation worries banished indeed one win and two draws would also do that.
This win has brought us breathing space, we now have a break with no fixture this weekend and that will give us time to get a few niggling injuries cleared up work on fitness and focus on the visit of Crystal Palace.
I have always maintained that we have a decent squad, I have always thought that Nathan Redmond was a player who can genuinely influence games, it just needed the right manager to bring it out, it is easy to get carried away but what Ralph Hasenhuttl has done for this team is nothing short of miraculous and his appointment has been inspired.
We still need a new central defender and another attacking option but this win has brought us not only breathing space but time, we do not need to panic in this transfer window as we did a year ago, we can sign players because they are right for us not because we have to do something.
Our League position a year ago at the same stage of the season was 17th with 21 points, on the face of it very similar to this season, but we were on a slippery slope then with a squad that was lacking in everything needed to bring out it's potential, now we are looking upwards.
A year ago Newcastle were two points and two positions ahead of us, at the final reckoning they were 10th and perhaps that is achievable for us, it certainly should be our focus.
Photo: Action Images
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|SanMarco added 11:01 - Jan 20|
Breathing space indeed. Just the sort of game that we have not been winning since Koeman left. Bednareck also deserves a mention. If we can get a decent CB to partner him and maybe swap Cedric for someone who can defend we wouldn't be far from the oft mentioned 'decent squad'.
I am always slightly suspicious of players who need certain people or managers to 'get the best out of them'. The rest of us wouldn't get away with that at work - these guys earn millions for being very good at football. Perhaps a month cleaning toilets at minimum wage would help them 'focus' for longer?
Still - not a day for negatives. Beat Palace and I think even the remaining stragglers will be on the Ralph bus!!
|schatfield added 12:03 - Jan 20|
If the fans had their say, we would have given away Stephens, Ward Prowse, Bednarik and Redmond away for free not so long ago. Luckily we dont have a say. Maybe now some will learn to support whoever plays for this club and not constantly moan about the squad
|saintjf added 12:11 - Jan 20|
So many good performances. Romeu was very solid again and is part of the spine of the team. Everton are poor away from home but we did play well and strongly in the middle of the park and got a deserved win. For whatever the reason some of the most criticised players turn out to be really good given time. Perhaps we all see the potential early on but get frustrated when they don't deliver. Why they suddenly deliver under Ralph must be down to him. They are not being paid anymore and should deliver all the time based on their pay packets. But they don't.
|saintpp added 12:20 - Jan 20|
Well said schatfield,
Good article UI but i dont get the need to buy a new CB Bednarek and Vesty doing a great job and will only get better with more games undroppable right now. Jack doing well too and Yoshi will be back soon. Then theres Hoedt who Rh seems not to want but isnt that bad if needed alongside the other three.Selling him would free a place up but signing someone to sit on the bench isnt a priority.
Id say a striker is the priority given some our injury woes and inexpereince in that position.
i have long said the sqaud is better than some believe and the only reason team like bmouth brighton are above us is because they had better managers
|Consigliere added 12:22 - Jan 20|
Whatever we paid for the new manager, he has saved the board in fees for a whole new team. As this article rightly says, he has transformed several key players, of whom Redmond and JWP are just the most obvious examples. All he needs to do now is to work the same magic on our goalkeeper (why does he keep putting the ball out of play from a goal kick?) and to a lesser extent the back four (who were pretty good in fairness though sloppy to concede the late goal) and we will be a formidable force indeed. Well done to the whole team, that was a really enjoyable afternoon.
|underweststand added 12:35 - Jan 20|
The sign of a "good manager" is his ability to the team and the individual players.
Ralph's enthusiasm to help players raise thei game, and he hasn't spent a £ since arriving. It is more of a condemnation of the previous managers who couldn't get the best out of what was almost the same squad as now. Puel encouraged Redmond but his successors ignored Nathan. Hughes chose Hoedt ahead of Bednarek...was it the sign of their fees?
Ward-Prowse has been around so long, many people think he's washed up already, but he's never had a proper role with Saints. As captain of England U23's he was often MoM and whilst his U23 mates have gone onto play for England, he's been sat on our bench. Yesterday we saw his real role as an attacking MF come true. I've seldom seen a shot hit with so much venom and accuracy - Pickford had no chance, with Everton narrowly avoiding a repeat of their visit some years back when they conceded TWO o.g.'s
Our confidence is back, and some of those fans who wanted to ditch half the squad just a couple of months ago may have to re-think their criticisms.
|highfield49 added 12:38 - Jan 20|
Obviously a really important time to claim all three points and what a difference it makes to see the back of the slow build up stagnation we've seen for the last two years. The future does indeed look bright with RH as manager. That said I don't fully subscribe to the view that being paid a lot of money guarantees player performance. It's hard to find a convincing analogy but the best that springs to mind is one where a clearly talented actor is hired on a high salary to perform as best they can under a dismal director. I've no doubt that Everton supporters are thinking along similar lines today, in their case an expensive squad not meeting expectations.
|1962saint added 12:40 - Jan 20|
This was the most enjoyable home game since beating Everton 4-1 last season (they must hate coming to St. Marys). Can't believe how Ralph has transformed the whole squad. Crisp accurate passing at speed and players getting into the opposition faces. The most surprising and pleasing aspect was the energy levels after the draining games v Leicester and Derby. It looked as though we had had 7 days without a game and not Everton. Is it possible the manager could transform Boufal or Carrillo if they return from their loan transfers?
Most encouraging for the rest of the season.
|sidsaint added 13:22 - Jan 20|
5 o'clock 8 mins injury time and was losing a 2-0 lead going to be our default position? No !that monkey is off our back and the old Saints of pre 2 years ago are back in town. If the transformation of players under Ralph can be continued then who knows how good the likes of Elyounoussy and even Holdt can be, let alone our youngsters. 10 days to regroup and lets make the most of our favourable run of fixtures coming up and climb the table.
|Bulgarian added 14:11 - Jan 20|
We don’t need no primadonnas
We don’t need no big payroll
No monkey business in the boardroom
Ralfie’s Saints are marching on
Hail Ralfie, Saints are marching on
|Consigliere added 14:18 - Jan 20|
Well said Bulgarian, another brick in the wall indeed!
|lemmsy added 17:07 - Jan 20|
Suspicious of players not performing when they’re paid x amount per week doesn’t stand up for me, at the end of the day they’re human and the fine lines at this level make the difference.proof of this is the current situation at Man U.also the expression man management becomes poignant.
It looks like Ralph is special and bearing in mind the difference he’s made to jwp, Bednarek & redmond perhaps boufal & Carrillo might be worth another look.
On a different note, the next big challenge is palace. They beat city & should have got more against the bin dippers so awe definitely can’t take anything for granted. Personally I exclude the Cardiff game coz Ralph was really in charge & there goal was a massive mistake but since then we’re close to 2 points per game which is a long way from relegation form!
|lemmsy added 17:15 - Jan 20|
Forgot to say ,
Not sure who picked out Ralph & appointed him but they deserve a lot of credit &
Those who slag of the board & suggest that we want to go down for financial gain might have a rethink I!
|SaintBrock added 18:11 - Jan 20|
Everton are good team, no doubt about that but "do not travel well" and usually get tanked when they visit us, although not always. They were very poor yesterday but it would be quite wrong to suggest that we beat them because they were a poor team, they were made to look very poor simply because they had not expected the sheer aggressiveness of our high pressing, hard tackling new style.
This is a halo moment for Saints, no other team in the division plays our way and with such fierce testeronic aggression and energy; quite frankly not only were Everton not prepared enough for it but frankly seemed not to fancy it at all and ironically they are marked down as a largely physical side.
The visitors were knocked out of their stride and nothing from the bench helped them recover for the initial shock to be able to deal with our threat as well as construct a new one of their own to out manoeuvre our new defensive system.
In a short time people will catch on to how we play and work out the counter measures to stifle our game so we need to use our psychological advantage while we have it and get points on the board. For now we must be glad of the run of fixtures ahead and use them to haul ourselves well away for the danger area.
|SaintBrock added 18:22 - Jan 20|
highfield49... we'll need to pray very hard indeed that they don't come a 'knockin on our door then. We've only got him on a 2 1/2 yr contact and we all know that means 1 1/2 yrs. If he rescues us and we get to 8th or higher in 19/20 season there'll be a list of suitors all over Europe scrambling to sign the new Guardiola.
At least we didn't cave in when a similar thing happened 3 or 4 years ago.......
|KriSaint added 18:41 - Jan 20|
Prowsey back at his best. Hope he keeps on kicking on. Very solid midfield with him, PEH and Romeu. More of that please. Bring on Crystal Palace.
|halftimeorange added 19:41 - Jan 20|
I can't get that carried away. Misplaced kicks from our GK, Stephens almost playing us into big trouble with short wayward passes, even JWP (who had a fine second half) was lacking in accuracy several times in the first 45 did not add up to Ralph having transformed the whole squad. Everton were definitely off-colour and their manager may pay the price. That said, Bednarek, Vestegaard, Romeu, Hobjberg and Targett (until he went off) all played very well and Saints were the superior team, even in the face of yet another useless referee. For me, Hoedt and Elyounoussi are not suitable for the rigours of our league and should be sold and we still need a rugged CB plus some cover if Ings does not complete his move due to fitness. Amid all the welcome euphoria Saints are currently a work in progress, not the finished article of a few seasons back.
|davidargyll added 21:01 - Jan 20|
My goodness I can hardly believe it! With one exception every comment was anything from positive to positively ecstatic! What’s happened to all the moaning minnies?!
But as for all this rubbish about the moment he’s successful he’s off! That is such crap! If he does well and enjoys himself and gets well rewarded why on earth should he want to leave? Not every manager is a money-grabbing, distrustful toe-rag, spending their entire time looking around for greener grass, you know. Some people are actually quite decent....
Just a thought but could we perhaps be seeing the start of Fortress St Mary’s
|LeTissIwish added 06:01 - Jan 21|
Hear Hear @davidargyll, not every man has his price, happiness is worth more than money, especially when he already has enough.
|NBSaint added 08:54 - Jan 21|
I hope you’re right Davidargyll and RH stays with us for several seasons. But I have this awful premonition: MoPo goes to Man U and then Levy grabs our man. Again.
|underweststand added 10:47 - Jan 21|
Comments to others; to 1962saint AND lemmsy.
Dare we suggest it?, but I also considered that as Ralph has managed to create a few new
"silk purses" since his arrival .. that maybe Boufal and Carrillo might be given a second chance and try to match up to Ralph's "tougher critera" to get a place in our squad?
After all they did cost a lot of money, and the sooner they prove themselves the better.
Neither of them seemed capable of "delivering the goods" under previous managers, but then many said the same of Redmond, Bednarek and JWP - only just a few months ago.
As Hughes also OK'd the "loanouts" of Hesketh, Sims and McQueen I can't help thinking that despite" the relative success" of Obafemi, Valery and Ramsay, we might not have needed to dip into the U18 sqaud if we still had the more experienced U23 lads on hand.
As for lemmsy'd comment ....about the Board sanctioning RH's employment...I recall RH commented that his first telephone contact was with Ralph K. - who began their initial conversation ...in German.(!) Useful to have some linguistic talent in the Boardroom, eh.
|SanMarco added 12:29 - Jan 21|
Re Ralph staying I hope along with davidargyll but fear along with NBSaint. I don't think he would go in the summer after less than a season but if a BIG vacancy was there the following summer then, let's face it, he would almost certainly be off. If I am right then MoPo going to Manure at the end of this season would be good. There is always the Arsenal and Chelsea situations to worry about though - always 2 of the big 6 missing out on the so-called Champions League so 'under-pressure' managers will be a constant.
Of course if Ralph was given proper resources for a challenge on the Big 6...???
|bstokesaint added 12:35 - Jan 21|
Well chuffed with the final result. It easy to get carried away though as once again we conceded a sloppy goal in the 90th and the ref gave them plenty of chance to make that 2 which would have been a tragedy (of sorts - football speaking) and completely changed the tone on here. We are still really weak at the back. I don’t think the players we’ve got can be coached to be the quality we expect these days. Maybe we’ll reinvest any Hoedt money wisely. Lastly it was great to see Redmond maintain his progression and silence his former critics and the same for JWP, who still has a long way to go but has started raising his game under the new manager to more of what we would like to see. Was a beauty of a goal. We need more of those in open play from him.
|Whatsforpud added 13:37 - Jan 21|
The only weakness was Cedric having to fill in at left back when Targett had to come off. He constantly had to turn back to manoeuver the ball on to his right foot. Hopefully, there is time now for Bertrand or Targett to play on the left next time.
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Letters from Wiltshire #23 by wessex_exile
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