Hasenhüttl: We've improved since last City clash

By SFC Media time Sat 19 Dec Saints v Manchester City
Photo by Matt Watson | Ralph Hasenhüttl

Ralph Hasenhüttl knows the task facing his team at St Mary's today will be a big one, but he is confident he will be sending out a team that is even better than the one which beat Manchester City here five months ago.

It was in July, towards the end of the 2019/20 season when a Ché Adams wonder goal coupled with a famous rearguard display resulted in a memorable 1-0 victory for Saints against Pep Guardiola's team.

we will have to have a fantastic game again... but we have developed our game and this is what we want to show.

ralph hasenhüttl
on facing manchester city again

Fast forward to December, and, in what most would regard as an unlikely turn of events, Saints head into this game four points ahead of their opponents and in the Champions League spots, while City go into the weekend in ninth place.

"It's an unbelievable situation," said Hasenhüttl. "They have still one game in hand, so it's not really four points, but it's amazing.

"For me still, they are one of the best teams in the league, and we will have to have a fantastic game again, like last time, and then you need also a fantastic goalkeeper and luck in the right moments to win it, but, and this is the good thing, we are also better than we have been at that time, we have developed our game and this is what we want to show ourselves, that we are still making steps forward, and then you have always a chance.

"Against the ball we have always been a very good organised team. It's clear what we do, every opponent knows what we are doing, but it is not enough to know it, it sometimes feels a little bit different if you play against it.

"With the ball I think was the biggest change in our game, because now we have learned to have a better game management. If we win the ball, don't lose it so quick again, find the right moment to attack, find the way to play through the lines and this was I think the biggest change in the past few months.

"We are still on the way, we are still not at the end of our knowledge of finding solutions with the ball."

Still, even despite a win in the last meeting and some notable improvement since then, Hasenhüttl is clear on how tough it will be for Saints to earn another three points from City.

"They can kill you with every attack, so if you are not well organised, or one time not on line, then it can be too late and this is why we must be careful," he said.

"But, and this is a good thing, we also have a few threats now for them and this is what we also want to put on the pitch, and then I hope it is an open game. It will be good to watch, I'm sure, because it will be intense and with high tempo – a typical Premier League game hopefully.

"We know what we have to do, we know how tough it is against such a big team and such a strong team, so let's go for it."

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