Hasenhüttl on intense finish to season


Southampton return home on Tuesday night to begin a run of four matches in the space of 13 days to conclude the 2020/21 season, and Ralph Hasenhüttl believes it is a fitting way to end an incredibly intense campaign.

Saints will kick-off a trio of home games with a clash against 13th-placed Crystal Palace – a side they still have hopes of catching before the Premier League concludes – as they aim to cut the four-point gap to Roy Hodgson's side.

With fixtures against Fulham and Leeds to follow at St Mary's, before a trip to West Ham on the final day, Hasenhüttl is hopeful of improving on the team's current position of 16th during this last, hectic run.

"The final two weeks seems like the whole season was, with unbelievable intensity and fixtures coming up very quickly,"

"We have been long in the cup competitions, that's the reason why we are feeling that this was a very intense year, but in the end we take it.

"We have three home games now and we want to take as many points as possible and then we will have a look how high we can end up at the end of the season."

Saints and Palace last met on the opening day of the season, with the Eagles edging it 1-0 in what was the latest in a string of closely-contested matches between the side.

Once again, Hasenhüttl expects the margins will be fairly small, and so he is keen for his side to show a ruthless streak this time around.

"I expect a similar game, with a team that has very good qualities, individually strong, well organised against the ball," he said of Saints' opponents. "When you want to create chances you have to do a good job, you have to be quick, using the spaces you get very well and then hopefully a good finish when you have a chance.

"This is what we missed in the first game. We had a few good ones and we didn't score, and then when they are sitting deep it is not always easy to score against them."

"They have quality in front definitely and you must pay attention with the counter-pressing and with the rest defence in a good position otherwise you can have problems."

While Saints have produced some good work in their recent games, following up their hard-earned draw at home to Leicester with a very competitive showing away to Liverpool on Saturday, Hasenhüttl knows they need to cut down further on the number of goals being conceded.

"We are still improving our game with the ball, that is good to see," he said. "Also against the big sides we are brave and play some good balls, creating chances. We don't score in the moment, ok, this is the other part, but more important I think – and this is what we must be very clear on – is when you concede that many goals it's never possible to win games and this is what we have to change quickly, because next season I think we have to have a better defence and work in and around the box because otherwise it's difficult to get results.

"This is the basic, fundamental part. This is about everything, protecting your box and your goal, this is what we do sometimes quite well but not often enough and this is a behaviour that we need to have, because otherwise we are putting so much effort and so much work in, so many thoughts on our gameplan and our behaviours, and in the end football is very simple – when you concede goals like we do sometimes then it's far too easy."