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Watt View - Brief stint at the top brought deserved praise for Hasenhuttl
Sunday, 15th Nov 2020 09:22 by Matt Watts

A week ago Saints were top of the league for the first time in 32 years, but it was not just the St Mary's faithful who appreciated the job Ralph Hasenhuttl has been doing at the club, this week Matt takes a look at what others have been saying

Saints’ brief spell at the top of the Premier League last weekend provided more than just a moment of satisfaction and enjoyment for fans.

It garnered the publicity boss Ralph Hasenhuttl deserves for the team and style of play he has been developing since he joined two years ago.

Prior to the win over Newcastle United which saw Saints hit top spot in the top flight for the first time since 1988, the Austrian said he preferred to be “a little under the radar”.

But that would be doing a disservice to him and his achievements with a team he has not only refined and enhanced but has developed into a side able to learn very well and very quickly from difficult experiences.

Despite the negative publicity and focus on Hasenhuttl following last season’s record 0-9 defeat to Leicester at St Mary’s and the form of the team in general during that period, I feel even at that point the majority of Saints fans would have felt mixed feelings about seeing the manager depart.

It was a mark of the man and the standards he sets for himself that he offered his resignation after that game as it would surely have pained him to have been forced to abandon his vision at a critical juncture.

This is a manager, after all, who had taken FC Ingolstadt 04 from bottom of the German second division to champions the following season and then secured an eleventh-placed finish in the Bundesliga the following year. Then, extraordinarily, he took RB Leipzig to second in the German top division in his and the club’s debut season.

Even this season, despite the joys of recent weeks, began on what seemed to be shaky ground with the disastrous high line seeing Saints slip to a 1-0 defeat away at Crystal Palace and the 2-5 thumping from Tottenham Hotspur - with a 0-2 EFL Cup exit at the hands of Championship Brentford in between.

Problems at that stage looked so grave that Eagles winger Andros Townsend told talkSPORT this week that he and his Palace teammates earmarked Saints as early season strugglers.

He explained: “I remember in the changing room afterwards, we were saying ‘They are in trouble this season. They can’t continue playing that way’.

“Then the next week they shipped five against Spurs and [Harry] Kane and [Heung-min] Son really exposed that high line.”

However, the former England international then expressed his surprise at a turnaround which has seen Hasenhuttl’s men win five and draw one of the following six matches.

“But they’ve not lost since and it’s incredible. I must admit, I did not see that coming. Fair play to them,” Townsend said.

It is always refreshing to see an opponent offer praise, but it is particularly satisfying when their team has recorded a victory and assumed the worst.

It is that turnaround which again demonstrates the ability of Hasenhuttl to learn and adapt quickly, as he did last term when he guided Saints to an eleventh-placed finish after much turmoil earlier in the campaign.

So last weekend was more than just a short-term moment of fun for the fan base. It was a chance for Hasenhuttl to be heaped with the praise his ability warrants.

Photo: Action Images

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TimSaint added 12:24 - Nov 15
RH will always have that 9-0 defeat on his CV and oh how the media love to bring it up at every given opportunity.
This may well work against RH in terms of future employment, so may mean that he will be more willing to stay at Saints for that much longer.

darthvader added 14:26 - Nov 16
I hope that one day we can have a game where we take all of our chances,then they will talk of the day we beat someone 10-nil

Bettwsresident added 23:16 - Nov 16
Almost did that against sunderland with Manes 3min hatrick! and then there sunderland in 2014....I think we scored from almost every chance + 2 own goals!!!

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