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Ralph Hasenhuttl ahead of 1 win in 10 Newcastle “I expect the most difficult game that you can imagine”

4 weeks ago
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Not sure what to make of what Ralph Hassenhuttl had to say today ahead of the Newcastle United clash.

The Southampton boss taking his pre-match press conference on Thursday afternoon.

The Saints facing a Newcastle team in a desperate run of form.

One win in the last ten Premier League games, only seven goals in the last twelve PL matches and no goals at all in the most recent 6+ hours of league football.

We are now so used to hearing empty platitudes these days from Premier League managers about rival players and managers ahead of matches, it is difficult to take them seriously, especially when Ralph Hasenhuttl declares: ‘I expect the most difficult game that you can imagine.’

Back in December when Southampton lost 2-1 at St James Park, the Saints manager wasn’t quite so complimentary: ‘We had chances to be more than 1-0 up and it was a pity. Really frustrated for the guys…It is a pity as I didn’t see a lot of chances for Newcastle today, plenty for us.’

Southampton did indeed dominate that game, only the usual combination of Martin Dubravka, wayward finishing from the opposition and luck, prevented Southampton from having the game won long before the end, the final stats showing they had 19 shots to Newcastle’s 12 and 12 corners v 3 for NUFC.

Danny Ings eventually gave Southampton the lead early in the second half, only for Saints to fail to finish the game off. Andy Carroll arguably having his biggest impact of the season on a game, off the bench in the 59th minute and Southampton struggling to handle it as the ball was booted up to him, Shelvey and Fernandez taking advantage with the goals late on.

There will be no Andy Carroll on Saturday though, not even in training at the minute and some two and a half months since he started a game, injured yet again.

Not sure if Ralph Hasenhuttl was having a laugh at Newcastle when referring back to that defeat in December; ‘It shows the strength of the opponent, they don’t need a lot of chances to score.’ As in, meaning NUFC were lucky due to how few chance they create!

Ralph Hassenhuttl speaking after losing 2-1 at Newcastle on Sunday 8 December 2019:

“I thought the defeat was not deserved.

“It was our best away performance of the season.

“We had chances to be more than 1-0 up and it was a pity.

“Really frustrated for the guys…

“After we scored, I think we stopped a little bit playing.

“They had a big guy in front and only went for long balls.

“The first goal we didn’t defend well and the second was a shot from outside the box.

“It is a pity as I didn’t see a lot of chances for Newcastle today, plenty for us.

“We didn’t get the result but it was a very good game from us.”

Ralph Hassenhuttl speaking at his pre-Newcastle press conference on Thursday 5 March 2020:

“I expect the most difficult game that you can imagine.

“It will be an interesting game but we focus on our strengths.

“They made a few good signings in the winter but haven’t found a good winning way at the moment…but you never know.

“I think we have enough, especially at home, even though we have a few problems with injuries we have a good first eleven.

“The players know we didn’t have our best game last week (losing 3-1 at West Ham) and they need to show up and give a different performance and I’m sure we will, at our home ground.

“We know why we lost the last game and this was the reason why changed a few things in the week, tried to work more aggressively and with more intensity.

“The players have invested a lot and hopefully we can see it (the benefits)  at the weekend.

“It was a very good game from our side (at St James Park in December) but we conceded two goals, they didn’t have many chances but those two.

“It shows the strength of the opponent, they don’t need a lot of chances to score.

“They played a very good game (on Tuesday at West Brom), scored three goals,and they haven’t done that often in the past.

“I expect them to play in a similar way but we want to give them more problems than West Brom did.”

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