Hasenhüttl: Let's make our fans proud

By SFC Media time Tue 24 Sep Portsmouth v Saints
Photo by Matt Watson | Ralph Hasenhüttl

Tonight, the seven-year wait for a south coast derby comes to an end, and Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhüttl's message is clear: "We know that we can write a big history."

The Saints boss will this evening take his team to Fratton Park for what is a third-round Carabao Cup tie, although the details of the competition and whatever stage it is at will be of little significance to both sets of supporters. This is Portsmouth vs Southampton, and wherever it is played, and in whatever circumstances, the only thing that matters is winnig.

For Saints, it has been 35 years since they last achieved that feat on their rivals' turf, courtesy of Steve Moran's iconic added-time winner in an FA Cup fourth-round clash.

we all know what it is about for the fans and we want to make them proud.

ralph hasenhüttl
southampton manager

Only four visits have taken place in the intervening period, the most recent of which was in 2012, and Hasenhüttl is acutely aware of how much it would mean to Southampton's supporters to see their team win at Fratton.

"The whole club and all the players are looking forward to this game," he said. "We know about how important it is for our fans and everybody.

"In every country there are important derbies, and this means players have previous experience, but I know this one is a very special one, because it is very long ago that this derby happened and this makes it so special for the fans.

"This means for us that we know that we can write a big history for every player who decides the game or who is in this team. We all know what it is about for the fans and we want to make them proud."

With Portsmouth currently 20th in League One, Saints will go into the game as favourites, but is Hasenhüttl paying any attention to form?

"Absolutely not, because you know that league games in that moment don't count," he said. "It's not really interesting for the performance on Tuesday night.

"As you see, all the cup games in the last years they were always tight rounds and it's not necessary that we have to win 5-0 after ten minutes – it's about being up in the end and this is the focus we have.

"It will be a tight game. Lower league teams in the cup over-perform very often and for us it is very important that we are always focusing on our performance."

While the Fratton Park atmosphere will add an extra layer of challenge for Saints, there will also be 2,000 visiting fans counteracting the efforts of the home crowd, and Hasenhüttl is, as always, grateful for what they will bring.

"Like always in our away games, the atmosphere is fantastic," he said. "We enjoy playing very much away games, not just because of the good results in our last ones, but because of our away fans. They're fantastic."

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