Ralph Hasenhüttl hopes a sense of familiarity will help his Southampton side when they return to St Mary’s for the first time in the Premier League this season against Leeds on Saturday.
Not only will there be familiarity in the surroundings, but also in the opposition, whose style is similar to Saints’, with Leeds boss Jesse Marsch taking the same path to the Premier League as Hasenhüttl, via RB Leipzig
Leeds’ intensity will put Saints under pressure, warns Hasenhüttl, but the manager has backed the support of the home crowd to help his players stay calm in possession.
“We could never start with a home game since I am here, but now we have the chance to play at home against Leeds and to take the first win,” he said.
“I think this is a very committed team with a similar style to what we play sometimes. I don’t want to say it is easy to prepare, but you know exactly what to expect.
“That makes the preparation very clear for the guys, because we know not only how it looks but also how it feels to play against such a team, because we have a lot of training sessions when you have the same feeling that you have no time to play the balls because there is a lot of pressure.
“What’s important is to know about the percentage of successful build-up situations, which against such a team are not very high.
“To have the support from outside, that even if we try something there is still support from outside, would help us massively.
“This is the big difference since the pandemic is over – that you have the pressure of the crowd in some moments, and you have to be really calm.
“We know that we have to show a reaction against a team that we are facing that is also very committed, very aggressive.
“We expect a very intense game with high temperatures in the ground, so we have to be prepared for a tough one, and I think we are.”