Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhüttl is anticipating another extremely competitive contest with Burnley, as he takes his team to Turf Moor on the opening day of the Premier League season.
Saints drew both games with the Clarets in the previous campaign, having also met them in the first match of 2018/19 – a 0-0 stalemate at St Mary’s – before a 1-1 draw in the reverse fixture.
Hasenhüttl was in charge of the latter of those two meetings, in February, as Nathan Redmond’s stunning second-half goal went close to earning the visitors all three points, before Ashley Barnes equalised from the penalty spot deep into added time.
ralph hasenhüttlfor six weeks we have prepared for this game and hopefully we are on the level that we can take points from it.
This time around, the Southampton boss is expecting another good fight between the teams.
"Maybe the same, like last season – a good atmosphere in the stadium, we were not afraid of the opponent, we tried to play our game, and that is something we will do this year the same,” he said.
“We scored a good goal in the second half, and then finally lost two points in the last minute from a penalty.
“In the end it was ok the draw, because they had a few chances and we had a few chances. It will be a tough game and a tight game, but let's see.”
With a home game against Liverpool to follow next weekend, and Manchester United also to come at St Mary’s this month, there are plenty of big hitters for Saints to face in the opening weeks.
For Hasenhüttl, though, there is only one opponent that matters right now… Burnley.
"As you know, our home games are very difficult, but also the away games against Burnley and Brighton are not easy,” he said of the opening fixtures.
“I think they are all games you can take points from, but it's difficult, like always in the Premier League.
“We should look ahead only for one week and from game to game, and the players know it doesn't make sense now to concentrate on the Liverpool or Manchester United game, because we know Burnley is the first step we take.
“For six weeks we have prepared for this game and hopefully we are on the level that we can take points from it.”