The boss evaluates the progress Southampton have made and the challenges he has faced in the hot seat since his 2018 appointment.
Ralph Hasenhüttl has been reflecting on his time in charge of Southampton, as the anniversary of his appointment approaches.
Sunday will mark exactly three years at the helm for the boss – the longest tenure of any Saints chief in the Premier League era.
The last manager to outstay Hasenhüttl was Chris Nicholl, who served the club for six years before departing at the end of the 1990/91 campaign.
“When I look at the picture now and I see myself, I think I was getting older in the last three years, that is for sure!” Hasenhüttl joked in his press conference.
“To be honest, me and my wife enjoy the life here very, very much. It is a wonderful place to live.
“I love the people, love the respect they give to you in every part of your life. I really must say that there is not a lot that I miss; maybe sometimes the mountains in Austria, but they are not running away – they are waiting for me when I stop here!”
As for the football, Hasenhüttl insists he arrived under no illusions of the size of the task ahead.
“I am here very long now and I would not be honest if I said I didn’t think it would be so tough,” he said.
“I knew it would be tough, knew it would be a very, very tough time, coming from a Champions League club to a club where the main goal is to stay in the league.
“For us, it is a surviving fight every day and every week, with the limits we have as a club, but I think we made some good progress.
“Even if we sell players for a lot of money, we are trying to rebuild the team. This is the way we have to go – to sustain our business we have to work like this.”
ralph hasenhüttlwe do the best to bring good games to the supporters to make them be proud about our team and our club.
The Austrian admits he needed time to adjust his own targets of what success would look like for Saints in the Premier League, with a best finish so far under his stewardship of 11th in 2019/20.
“This was a change in my mind also – it took a little bit to understand this, to be honest, because coming here you have targets to finish as high up the table as possible and reach international (European) spots,” he continued.
“Then you see how strong the league is, how strong other teams are and the potential they have. There is another team coming now in Newcastle – financially they have absolutely more potential than we have.
“But the interesting thing is that the job is not affected by this hard work. It is still fantastic – I enjoy my job every day, it’s fantastic to work for this club with my staff and with my team.
“We do the best to bring good games to the supporters to make them be proud about our team and our club.
“It’s interesting how many Saints fans we have here – not only down in the south but also in London and this region. That means that the club means something to the guys. We understand this and we do everything to make them proud of this club.”