Ralph Hasenhuttl urges a return to winning ways ahead of Aston Villa assignment


Ralph Hasenhuttl admits Southampton “must find back how to win” following back-to-back defeats in the Premier League.

Despite only four teams taking more points than Southampton (13) in the previous eight matches, Saints have suffered successive league defeats either side of the winter break. Their 2-1 loss to Burnley last week offered a stark reminder to Hasenhuttl and his men that Premier League safety is not quite yet assured. And with the worst home record in the league, playing at St Mary’s continues to mentally pose questions towards those players.

However, they do have a favourable run of fixtures ahead of them, with their next four games against teams all below them in the table. It starts with the visit of 17th placed Aston Villa, who sit one point above the relegation zone.

Team News

Southampton will be without injured trio Nathan Redmond (groin), Sofiane Boufal (heel) and January arrival Kyle Walker-Peters after picking up a calf injury in training.

Meanwhile, Dean Smith is still without Tom Heaton and Wesley, who both suffered season-ending ACL injuries in the same match against Burnley in January. John McGinn has stepped up his recovery from an ankle injury this week but remains ruled out until March. Keinan Davis (thigh) and Jed Steer (calf) are also missing.

Speaking in front of the media, Ralph Hasenhuttl emphasised the importance of Saturday’s clash as his team aim to turnaround the wretched home form:

“It’s a big, big, game,” said the Saints boss. “They have had a good turnaround after our last game, when we won there in a good way, and then they changed their shape and now they play differently and are better organised.

“We will need every supporter, every voice, to get an atmosphere where they feel that it’s very, very tough to get something here and this is what we try to create.

“We know what we have to look at, and the spaces that we have to use better than the last game. I think we had a few chances to score and didn’t do it – being more clinical at home would be helpful and defensively we must be better organised for 90 minutes, because they also have quality in front and it’s always dangerous.”

Dean Smith has revealed his players have to put ‘pressure’ on their counterparts:

“Their head coach has said that it’s tough to play at home, because there is pressure on them. We have to concentrate on ourselves and put that pressure onto Southampton and their supporters. If we play to the capabilities that have got, we are a match for anyone.

“The quality of his [Danny Ings] finishing has been outstanding. If our defenders play well, we keep him quiet, they are all capable but they have to concentrate and focus for 90 minutes.”


Southampton wins: 26

Draws: 23

Aston Villa wins: 28

For the post-match report and regular updates on Twitter from our stadium reporter Jacob Tanswell, follow @Prostsoccer & @J_Tanswell


About Author

Football, Boxing and Cricket correspondent from Hampshire, covering southern sport. Editor and Head of Boxing at Prost International. Accreditated EFL & EPL journalist.

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