Hasenhüttl praises Saints' stability

By SFC Media time Tue 29 Dec Saints v West Ham United
Photo by Matt Watson | Ralph Hasenhüttl

Ralph Hasenhüttl was keen to praise the defensive improvement of his team after Southampton secured back-to-back clean sheets by virtue of a second successive goalless draw.

Following the Boxing Day stalemate at Fulham, in which Shane Long and Theo Walcott both had goals ruled out for offside, Saints were held again, this time at home by West Ham.

On this occasion Danny Ings was the man denied by the raised flag of an assistant referee, but the boss admits his side lacked a little bit of “punch” in the final third against the Hammers.

“I must say on the performance, the defence in the last round is perfect,” he said, addressing the media via Zoom. “We have two clean sheets in a row, we are much more stabilised and play much more football now.

“What we are missing at the moment is the final punch in the final third. In the last games we have always scored but it’s offside.

“It’s not so easy for us to score at the moment, but the more important thing is that we are still compact, and against the ball much more stable than in the years before.

“This is the basis to getting 56 points in 2020, I think. For us as a club, this is an amazing number and I think after Liverpool and Tottenham we have taken the most wins in this year.

“To be honest, it is much more than we expected to have, and I am happy and proud for the work the guys have done this year.”

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 29: Richard Kitzichler of Southampton first team assistant coach during the Premier League match between Southampton and West Ham United at St Mary's Stadium on December 29, 2020 in Southampton, England. The match will be played without fans, behind closed doors as a Covid-19 precaution. (Photo by Matt Watson/Southampton FC via Getty Images)
First team assistant coach Richard Kitzbichler led the team in Hasenhüttl's absence

The Saints boss was forced to manage the game remotely, via a video and audio link, after a member of his household tested positive for COVID-19.

“It was horrible, very difficult,” he said. “Before the game it was good, I must say we definitely found a good way of managing the players, showing them I could do the meetings, and I was always in the dressing room speaking to them, explaining what we want to do and what we need to do.

“Also at half-time I spoke to them, but my assistant coaches did a good job I think, both Flem (Craig Fleming) and Richard [Kitzbichler], and also Scotty [Waters], the analyst, did a good job.

“The difficulty was that I didn’t have a live picture and a live voice, so this is horrible. You hear the live voice, but you do not have a live picture, which makes it difficult to coach and difficult to concentrate on the game.”

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