We bring you the key points from Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhüttl's press conference, as he spoke with the media ahead of Saturday's Premier League visit to Newcastle...
We have only a few small injuries. Jannik Vestergaard has a little bit of a problem and didn’t train the last two days, but today maybe he will step back in team training. Like in the last weeks, also after intense games, he had some little problems and needed a little bit longer for recovery. It’s a long season for a huge body and in the moment he’s struggling a little bit, but we will have a look to see if it is possible for him at the weekend.
Alex McCarthy had some little problems yesterday after his training session and Matt Targett also a little bit, but not huge ones, so I think that should be no problem. Chaz has a bit of a problem with his shoulder, but also today he can maybe train, so let’s have a look.
Yan Valery is ok. Michael Obafmei is not training with the group. He is in individual training sessions. Mario Lemina made a big step forward this week. He trained always with the team and looks much better now.
That’s good for him and good for us that we know we have an intense week with three games in a week so it will be nice if we have one more option in this position.
Have you done enough to be safe yet?
No. For sure we need more than 36 points. Five points clear of Cardiff. Three points clear of Brighton. You see the result on Tuesday shows that nobody gives up. There is no knockout for Cardiff, they are still alive. I expect them to fight very hard until the end and so we have to do the same and I guarantee we will do.
We speak about the 40 points and therefore we need four more and the good thing is I don’t have the feeling my team is leaning back. They stay focused and although it’s a long season so far I have the feeling they are very hungry and they want to hunt and take more points and that’s a good signal for me.
I don’t have to do a lot because I think if you feel how nice it is to win games then you get motivated to do it more often and that’s exactly what I can feel at the moment.
Games like against Wolverhampton at home helps a lot to be positive for the future and I think in the last seven games we only lost twice, and that was against Liverpool and Man United away.
ralph hasenhüttlit's very tough for me to find a first xi now, but that's exactly how it should be.
So it is a good time, a good period where we have taken a lot of points. The last five games we don’t face any top-six clubs but also the teams they have quality. But it’s a good challenge for us to see how far we are in our development.
The game against Wolves was a good one, mainly in the first half, we were very positive and except for 10-15 minutes it was a very good game for us and another step forward, with a few new players.
It’s very tough for me to find a first XI now, we have a lot of guys who train very well in the week and show up and that makes it very difficult for me to pick a first XI, but that’s exactly how it should be.
It would be worse if I had players who were happy to sit on the bench because that means we don’t develop our game. They don’t play not because they are weak, but because others play well in the moment, and that’s how it should be.
They train hard to push the others to top performance at the weekend, so that’s the best atmosphere to create quality and that’s what we do at the moment.
On Charlie Austin being one of those players pushing others...
He is a perfect example of a guy who is always positive for the team and very important for the team. Although he is not playing in the last games as much as he wants to, with his strong character he is very important for the team because he is always positive, always pushing the other guys and doesn’t let them lean back because then he’s there and will show up. If the training session is not the quality he likes it to be then he shouts at the other guys.
That’s what I like, that’s why I love him and that’s why I said in the winter transfer break if he stays with us I am happy and if he gets a chance to play somewhere else I am happy for him, because he deserves to play more and at the moment I can’t offer him this chance here.
That’s not because he’s weak but because the others are doing it very well at the moment – Reddie scores, Longy scores, Ingsy’s back with a lot of quality and assists. It’s not easy for him to find a place in the team, but he knows exactly what his task and his challenge is and he makes this in a fantastic way.
I’ve never faced Rafa Benítez before. They are a very good team in a fantastic stadium with a good atmosphere, a fantastic football atmosphere, and they do it very well at the moment. They are nearly safe, but they also want to make the last step to climb to 40 points.
For us it’s another good challenge to show that we can compete in away games. In Brighton we took three points and that was important for us, a massive win for us, and at Newcastle we try to do it again.
We try to be a very good, balanced opponent that knows exactly what to do against a very good organised team with a high quality and it’s not easy to take points there but it’s never easy in the Premier League.
What impact does Ralph Krueger's departure have?
For our daily business not in a huge way, but for me he was a very important person. He brought me here, he was the guy I had the first contact with but I think the club and he find an agreement that both could live with.
I am an employee of the club and for me as a manager it doesn’t change anything. I am sure he will be our biggest fan until the end of the season, wish us all the best and wish us to stay in our positive way and that’s what we try to do.
We have maybe a few things that will change, but the owners and the guys with responsibility in the club will find the right decisions. For us it’s important we can take the decisions we have to take in the next weeks, it’s important, and we can do this. It is important that if the transfer period starts we know exactly who has the responsibility for every part of this job and that for sure will happen.
On what sort of player he might look for in the summer...
It’s not about British or something else. I think the package I have always spoke about is they must fit perfectly to our club, which means not the seventh or eighth contract in this life, but the first, second or third maximum, so we are a developing club also. That means he can show up and we can develop young players, with diamonds we have to polish and make them shine if they come here.
The last months showed we can develop young players here and we have a very good atmosphere and a club famous for developing players and if we are the next step in their development then he is welcome, because he helps us with their quality and if he becomes a very good player and goes somewhere else we have to accept this, but he helped us a lot. That’s the way we want to go. It’s the Southampton Way and I can guarantee we keep on this track.
ralph hasenhüttli think there are a few decisions that are still very difficult for var to take.
on the use of video reviews
It will be a big impact and big change. As you saw yesterday it can decide games and hopefully in a clearer way, so less wrong decisions. That makes this game more fair.
I think there a few decisions that are still very difficult to take for the VAR. For example, the handball decisions, because it’s about is it intentional or not and it’s still humans who decide it.
It’s still a mistake maybe on the next level, because you don’t know if he sees it is intentional or not. These are the biggest problems with these decisions of handball or not – it’s such a big impact and can completely change a game.
I think for offside it is perfect for VAR because it’s something no human can decide exactly because it’s about a few centimetres. For a foul and handball it’s not easy for the VAR but I hope the right people are sitting there and helping the referee.
It’s important the last decision is taken in the stadium because that’s why people are going there and that’s why we love this atmosphere in the stadium. If you have the feeling decisions are taken out of the stadium it is not good for football.