Hasenhüttl's Arsenal press conference round-up

By SFC Media time Fri 22 Feb Arsenal v Saints
Photo by Matt Watson | Ralph Hasenhüttl

We bring you the key points from Ralph Hasenhüttl's press conference, as the Saints boss takes his refreshed squad to Arsenal on Sunday following a two-week break from competitive action...

On Tenerife trip…

“It was an intensive time but I think we needed it, because we are still under the line and there is a hard way to go until the end.

“It was important to use the time we had to speak to every player, show him what was good until now and what was not so good.

“It was important to speak about things which have improved in our game and things that can be better in the future.”

On individual player meetings…

“One or two were a little bit surprising. You get a good feeling for the personal feeling of every player and it’s important I get this feedback: how positive or negative does he see his development?

“It helps me find the right words in the future to make him a better player. For me, it was very interesting.”

TENERIFE, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 13: Ralph Hasenhuttl on day 3 of Southampton FC's winter training camp on February 13, 2019 in Tenerife, Spain. (Photo by Matt Watson/Southampton FC via Getty Images)
Hasenhüttl held one-to-one meetings with every player in Tenerife

On looking ahead…

“The first key was not to look back after a disappointing game (against Cardiff), and to have a new spirit in our team. It was a good time to go away.

“It would’ve been easier if we’d won the last game, but maybe the focus in the players was even higher, which is an advantage.

“It was easier for me to be critical sometimes, which can help us in the last 12 games.”

On points targets…

“I think we all know 24 is not enough. We will need 40 points, maybe, to stay in the league. 

“Every point we take now is a good one, but we are focusing on our next game against a very good opponent who we have beaten once this year in a big game with a fantastic performance.

“I am not afraid of the big teams that are coming up, because we’ve showed against Chelsea and Arsenal we can play good matches against these teams.

“It is tight, but I think at the end of the season we have a chance to come out of this area. It could take until the last game.”

On Arsenal…

“It can’t be an advantage that they played on Thursday evening and we didn’t, but we know taking something away from the Emirates Stadium is far from being easy.

“Every game is difficult. In the first game (against Arsenal) we showed we can bring a surprising result. We defended very well, which is the key part against these teams.

“They will play different to the last three opponents we have had. Maybe we won’t have as much ball possession, but I don’t know what shape they will play.

“We have a few changes in mind for what we will do with our team. It will be interesting tactically.”

On tactics…

“In away games, we have only lost against Cardiff since I came here.

“It will be a good mixture between defensive balance and winning the ball with quick transition forward to create problems for Arsenal, as we did in the first game.

“Every manager is always looking for changes if something doesn’t work. Let’s have a look who makes the better decisions on the weekend.”

On injuries…

“We have a few players back in training. Michael Obafemi has trained the whole two weeks with the team – his injury has gone and he has no muscle problems anymore.

“Mario Lemina still hasn’t trained with the team, but he’s getting better and better.

“Stuey Armstrong is back on the pitch, with no problems in the last two weeks.

“Danny Ings is still out. The Arsenal game is too early; Man United and Fulham could be close, but I expect him back for the Tottenham game.”

TENERIFE, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 12: Michael Obafemi on day 2 of Southampton FC's winter training Camp, on February 12, 2019 in Tenerife, Spain. (Photo by Matt Watson/Southampton FC via Getty Images)
Teenage striker Michael Obafemi is fit again after signing a new long-term contract

On Michael Obafemi’s new contract…

“The first important thing is he’s fit again. After his goal against Huddersfield, it was a long time out. 

“For a young player, it’s always important to keep playing and developing their game.

“He has a few qualities that can be a weapon for us – his speed and his deep runs – so it’s good that he’s back.

“It’s good that his contract is signed, so he can concentrate 100 per cent on his work and his professionalism, because he’s a young player and there’s still a lot of work to do with him.”

On Obafemi’s potential…

“I don’t want to put pressure on him because it doesn’t help. The main thing for younger players is they don’t feel pressure and they are open-minded and positive going into games because they think they have nothing to lose.

“We should try to keep this low pressure on them. I don’t expect too much – what I expect is that they work hard and if they get the chance to play, they are brave and try to do their best on the pitch. That’s the most important thing.

“He should not think about the big players this club have had. He has the potential to be a striker who can create problems for opponents. If he stays fit, he can develop his game in a good way.”

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