By SFC Media time Fri 09 Aug Men's First team

The Saints boss looks ahead to the 2019/20 campaign...

Tomorrow, a new season begins for Southampton – and, for manager Ralph Hasenhüttl, it can't come soon enough.

"I feel good that it's starting, good that the pre-season is over, good that we are in good shape and have used this time in a good way," he said, as he began previewing the 2019/20 campaign, at Staplewood Campus.

"It's time that it's starting now, it's time that the first game is coming, and we're happy.

"It's a mixture of being excited and being not so sure of how good you are. You never know."

If last season's form under Hasenhüttl is anything to go by, though, there is reason for plenty of optimism, with the Austrian, who turned 52 today, having overseen a tremendous resurgence following his arrival in December, as the team recovered from a precarious position to secure its Premier League status.

the pre-season games were positive, but now it's about getting results.

ralph hasenhüttl
southampton manager

With that aim having been achieved, Hasenhüttl has now spent the summer implementing more of his methods, taking advantage of the first prolonged period he has had to work with his squad.

"As always, it's the only time you can really work and concentrate with the team on any topic you want," he said, ahead of tomorrow afternoon's opener away to Burnley.

"We try to improve in different shapes, we try to get solutions for different shapes, and we know what to do now in every part of our game I think, and this is the most important thing for the players and for me.

"Not every player was in as long as others. For example, Ché Adams was here from the first day and that helps us a lot, because we could work with him.

"For Moussa [Djenepo] it was a little bit more difficult, he was coming in very late now, so it will take time until he is an option for the starting XI I think, but he showed in these sessions he can help us and that he is an important player for us.

"I think we had a good fundamental basis last season and built it up, and we now try to improve a few steps, put a few new things in and try to improve, to play quicker in front, to minimise the risk, don't give away goals so easily, and I think the pre-season games were positive, the results were ok, but it was only pre-season. It's nice to see, but nobody knows exactly how good we are, and now it's about getting results."

While those results are paramount, how Southampton get to them is also important to Hasenhüttl, who expanded on his philosophy and what he wants from his players.

"I think when you watch us playing football it's always very active," he said. "I think we try to be active. We try to act first, not react when the opponent does something.

"So, even if we defend, we try to be active and wait for the right moment to attack and this is something typical for us and our game.

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 08: Ralph Hasenhuttl during a Southampton FC Press conference pictured at Staplewood Complex on August 08, 2019 in Southampton, England. (Photo by James Bridle - Southampton FC/Southampton FC via Getty Images) (Photo by James Bridle - Southampton FC/Southampton FC via Getty Images)
Ralph Hasenhüttl all smiles in his first pre-match press conference of 2019/20 (Photo: James Bridle)

"The players get used to it, and this is I think a very attractive way to play football, because it's high intensity and it's something the supporters want to see."

One other thing the fans undoubtedly wish to see is a better finishing position than the last two seasons come next May.

While Hasenhüttl isn't into making predictions on where his team will end up, he is confident the process he and his squad go through can lead to a more satisfying outcome once the campaign has concluded.

"I know everybody wants to hear that we will be top ten at the end of the season, but I don't think like this," he said.

"I try to make smaller targets, everyday targets to make things better, and if you do that then, at the end, you get what you deserve to get. I hope it will be more than last season, and if we take points consistently I'm sure it will be."


Gallery: Saints prepare for Turf Moor trip
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