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Ralph Gives Southampton Injury Boost For Sheffield United Clash
Thursday, 4th Mar 2021 14:03

Ralph Hasenhuttl has been speaking to the press ahead of the trip to South Yorkshire to take on ex Saints player Chris Wilder's Sheffield United in a big game for both sides, but he has some positive news.

As reported earlier today by this site, three key injured players returned to training this week and now manager Ralph Hasenhuttl has this to say:

"The injury news is so far that we have a few players back training; Ibra, Taki and Kyle," Hasenhüttl commented.

"They are in the sessions. If they are available for the game, we'll have to have a look. But it looks good. We may have a few more alternatives on the weekend.

"We have to pay attention with Moussa [Djenepo], he has a big injury history since he's been with us here. Three games in a week is a bit difficult for him, I think. We need to be careful how we manage the load.

"Theo [Walcott] was the worst of all the muscle injuries. I hope that after the international break he will be back. He's had a good impact for us this season."

So for once there is some good news on the injury front, although it is unlikely that Ralph will risk all three in the starting line up, he might risk one with the other two on the bench, thus giving him the luxury of some options that he hasn't had.

Some Saints supporters have complained about a lack of a plan B in this horrible run, I say that he can't have a plan B when he is so short of experienced proven players in the squad, judge the manager on what he does with a full squad, not when he is missing almost half of his usual matchday squad.

This might not be the game when Ralph has all those options back, but just one extra of these three will make a big difference on Saturday.

Photo: Action Images

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halftimeorange added 14:23 - Mar 4
What Ralph needs to drum into the team is 'don't pussyfoot around otherwise most of you will be looking forward to playing at Wycombe next season rather than Wembley'. I am still reeling from the abject effort put in against Newcastle and there have only been occasional flickers of life from the squad since. I'm grasping at straws looking at Fulham's next few fixtures and I'm hoping that Spurs, Liverpool, Man City and Leeds will put a stop to their revival because I don't see too much drive coming from St Marys. All we get is messages about how Salisu, Redmond, Armstrong and Djenepo need to be nursed through games because they're bodies can't take it. What are they training for down at Northam - ballet dancing?

TimSaint added 14:37 - Mar 4
Why make the point about a Plan B ?

Surely if we are chasing the game, it makes sense to up the tempo, show more urgency, put more balls into the box, put Vest up front as a target man (especially against 9 men), try something different - instead of playing the same old slow predictable way, that is not only easy to defend against, but plays into the opposition's hands.

Even when we are chasing the games, we still pass it all the way back, instead of crossing it and seem content to keep the ball somewhere between our 18 yard box and the half way line - rather than actually penetrate the opposition's box.

At least try something different to get a goal and possibly something out of the game and if we concede, so what, we were losing anyway, but at least we tried to do something, rather than the same old predictable stuff.

A1079 added 15:12 - Mar 4
Injuries, bad decisions etc, we can hide behind them, but any manager worth their salt will always have a plan B even if it is merely tactical and at times on that side Ralph has been found wanting. When we lost Jankewitz the plan B should have been to defend in numbers and keep the score down. Against Newcastle they went down to 9 men and they had a plan B and won but we didn't when it came to breaking them down.

Against Wolves in a long injury period and we were losing instead of getting the ball moving quickly we were pussy footing around in a pedestrian manner.

To be balanced, Ralph finally showed some tactical nouse against Chelsea.

We had a pretty strong squad against Everton and Leeds but never really looked like winning because Ralph played the same way and the opposition knew what to expect.

On the whole I have been a Ralph fan and I still believe he can do something, but he and the team need to stop blaming everyone but themselves. Injuries happen, decisions go against you but it is not a reason to collapse or fight on.

I would hate to be a Crystal Palace fan and watch a Roy Hodgson style every week but even he understands that when you don't have the strength in certain areas you set yourself up not to lose - what happens they beat Brighton and get a draw against Man U

Peterx added 16:12 - Mar 4
My view is that if we play as few people out of position as possible i.e. get KWP back at RB, get Bednarek back to his usual CB right sided position, with Vestegaard CB Left side & play Armstrong at defensive midfield (as the only person out of their preferred position).

Then a front 4 of Redmond in his traditional position on the left where for me he still throws in reasonable performances, one out of Minimino / Tella in the "Armstrong position", with Che and Danny up front , then we are unlikely to lose the game.

Then get Jankewitz, Tella, Salisu on for the last 20 if conditions allow.

Personally I would be happy with a point, but obviously much happier with an ugly win.

We cant lose, happy for this one to be very boring 0-0 or 0-1 win.

Bottom line though we are a very different proposition with our first choice back 4 all playing in their best positions.

sandywelsh added 17:12 - Mar 4
Ralph Hasenhuttl calls for Southampton to buy 'a lot of new players' this summer as Austrian attributes Saints' turbulent campaign to lack of squad depth amid injuries to key stars.

JohnT added 17:22 - Mar 4
Plan 'B' is changing how we play in the 1st half to counter what the other side does after half time..

saintmark1976 added 18:09 - Mar 4
Nick, whilst I respect your right to say whatever you want sometimes your comments bear only a passing resemblance to reality. Surely you must be able to see that the time when you most need a plan B is when you don’t have your full squad available. Not the other way around as you appear to suggest. Personally not having a plan B (with or without a full squad) is one of my biggest criticisms of Ralph.

In reference to the upcoming game against Sheffield Utd. Frankly I don’t really care what team plays for us as long as the players show a desire to win at all costs. It really is imperative that we come away with all three points. Should that prove not to be the case then I for one will be happy for Ralph to go.

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