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Hasenhuttl Is Getting The Players Back On Track
Wednesday, 3rd Apr 2019 10:01

It has been pleasing to read in recent weeks interviews from our players clearly enthused by the new manager although their comments seem to also damn Mark Hughes for his methods.

The latest player to come out in praise of Ralph Hasenhuttl is Ryan Bertrand, this is a significant interview in that over the past couple of seasons Bertrand has been a player who has looked the least motivated and at times has seemed unhappy to be here.

That is a little understandable, Bertrand has supposedly been linked with a big move over that time and was the one player from the Pochettino/Koeman era that has not moved and that must have rankled with him a little.

He seemed to be badly affected by that and looked sorry for himself and disinterested, he seemed to have no aim or direction, happy to take his wages and go through the motions.

Add to that with being dropped from the England set up and we had a player who if he was de motivated last season, in the early part of this just didn't seem to have the passion or anything about him as he had had a year or two before.

But the arrival of Ralph Hasenhuttl seems to have stirred him up, perhaps it has made him realise that although his career path has not gone as far as he had hoped, that it is not finished yet and as he approaches 30 there are still things he can achieve, including a return to the England squad.

Speaking to the media Bertrand said.

“The manager has come in and has given us an identity. He has given us a clear style of play and doesn’t leave any stone unturned,”

“It’s a real pleasure to go to the field like that and not have people questioning each other what to do.

“When there is an argument, they are genuine arguments because everyone knows their role and will know if they haven’t done something right."

“If you were to ask 100 people what Southampton’s style of play was, the answers would all be similar.

“It would be that we are a high pressing team, very competitive and play some good football. Before, it might have been adrift.”

This is a damning indictment at Mark Hughes style of management and Bertrand seems to be implying that Hughes lacked organisational and motivational skills and that in turn caused unrest in the squad who were unsure of what they were supposed to do.

It implies that it was not a happy dressing room under Hughes and that caused a lot of our problem.

Certainly the evidence on the pitch seemed to back that view up, we had a fragile confidence that often saw us dominate games suggesting that the quality in the team was there, but collapse in the latter stages of the game suggesting that the players were not fit enough or organised enough.

Hasenhuttl can not be expected to turn that around over night, but as the season goes on it is clear that he has not been afraid to tackle the problems head on, firstly uniting the squad and give them a clear plan and secondly by talking to them individually about their role in the squad both from an individual perspective and also the wider picture.

This seems to be working who has missed almost half of the season so far due to injury, not playing at all between November 10th and February 9th, since then he has played in 5 of the 6 games and started to look like the player he was a few years ago rather than the one we have seen of late.

That has to be Hasenhuttl's influence and hopefully long may it continue, the Austrian's job has been to firstly get the players he has at his disposal playing to the best of their ability, now he has done that he just needs to get those final couple of wins to see us safe from relegation.

From this perspective League position does not matter we just want the job done then we can start planning for next year, if our manager can get this squad playing to the standards that he has so far then what can he do with the addition of a couple of key players next season.

Just cutting out the errors will do a lot towards that, but we can do better and it seems that our players at the moment like Ryan Bertrand see it that way too.

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Colburn added 12:55 - Apr 3
Agreed Bertie has looked a bit down over the last couple of seasons. I think he reached a point of exhaustion in some ways. For 3 years he played virtually every game while others had rests so it seemed he reached burn out, physically and mentally. Now he’s had a rest for a couple of months this season and now under a new exciting manager he has been reinvigorated. I think he needed that break. Similar situation to Sanchez (albeit a different team and situation), who was used constantly by Wenger burning him out so he struggled to give his best when Man U bought him.
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SaintBrock added 13:20 - Apr 4
Bertie has always been a class act and stealing him away from Chelsea was one of the best bits of business we have done in recent years. I hope he really settles under Ralph and ends his career here.

Let's also be fair-minded, if Ward Prowse can get into the England squad then it should be a no brainier for Southgate to call on Bertie. Imagine Kane getting on the end of Bertie's crosses into the box...
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