Ralph Hasenhüttl is excited to show the Southampton supporters what they’ve been missing when fans return to St Mary’s for the first time in nine months on Sunday.
It was way back on March 7th that Saints last hosted supporters for a Premier League match, but this weekend will see up to 2,000 fans in attendance for the visit of Sheffield United.
In that period, Saints have taken 38 points from 20 top-flight matches, and currently sit fifth in the table, with Hasenhüttl overseeing a dramatic upturn in performance behind closed doors.
“It’s been an unbelievable time, to be honest,” he reflected. “You cannot imagine having such a long time without fans in the stadium; celebrating with them, winning with them, losing with them… everything is part of our journey – it’s about being committed all the time.
“I’m very much looking forward to seeing them back in the stands and hopefully we can enjoy them with the game we play.
“We have learned a few new things I think, and we want to show everything. Without giving too much pressure on us, we are still convinced about what we are doing, and hopefully we can give them a fantastic Sunday afternoon.”
Hasenhüttl hopes the supporters will enjoy the experience of watching his team in the flesh, with Saints having evolved into a more possession-based side, albeit not at the expense of that familiar relentlessness to win the ball back.
“They see that we are playing more football and we are more in possession, calmer on the ball with more patience, waiting for the right moment to attack, keeping the ball a little bit longer,” the boss continued.
“I think they have seen everything on television, so when they are coming back they know what they have to expect: still a team that likes to run a lot, likes to hunt, likes to press, likes to give early pressure, winning balls early, having a good transition and creating good chances.
“This is the game. We want to put this intensity on every game on the pitch and on the whole club. We wanted to change it and we did it.
“In the last couple of months we took the time to learn a lot and now we want to show them, without a doubt.”