Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl doesn’t think Saints have an issue defending against two strikers – but admits he could revert to a back five in future games.
Ralph Hasenhuttl said “No, because we’ve played teams with two strikers up top, but we just defended better and more aggressive. If you don’t do it then it’s easy. It was very easy for the other team to come in behind our line.With a back three it was better, and we have had some games this season where we have defended better with a back three. It’s not such an easy decision for the future. ”
Most of the success for the south coast side has under Hasenhuttl has come when they have played a 4-2-2-2 formation but injuries and opposition playing two strikers on top or a split forwards has meant that Saints have not been able to play their preferred formation for a while now.
Ralph Hasenhuttl said “The only rule that really works in VAR is the offside. And we want to change this? I don’t know why. It’s the only black-and-white decision which is always right or wrong. The rest is subjective. If we change it the way he wants to do it we can stop playing offside because it won’t work any more. It will change the game massively in my opinion. The only thing that really works well at the moment is the decision about offside. And everything else we must discuss more.”
Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl has said offside may as well be scrapped entirely if Arsene Wenger’s proposed changes are introduced. The ex-Arsenal manager’s idea is that “you will not be offside if any part of the body that can score a goal is in line with the last defender”.
Ralph Hasenhuttl said “I still hope that this virus will still not be that big, but we must pay attention and not get too much panic about it. What you can do is keep your hands clean and try to avoid contact, selfies or autographs at the moment. We should let go to avoid contact and that means no more handshakes in the morning. We need to keep it from spreading but we also shouldn’t panic too much. There’s a ritual here that everybody shakes hands with everybody as soon as we see each other every morning – we’ve stopped that on the advice of the doctor.”
An Instagram post reply by Southampton captain Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg has prompted many Saints fans to think that their club captain is ready to sign a new deal at the club. His contract is expiring at the end of the 2021 season and ever since he has signed up with the super-agent Pini Zahavi, rumours have been rife about him moving on this summer with Tottenham Hotspur very much interested.
The club was congratulating their captain a few days ago on making 100 appearances for the club and he replied by saying “Let’s go for 100 more” which led fans to think that he still hasn’t given up on extending his stay on the south coast. The rumours are that the Ex Bayern Munich man wants to see where Southampton finish this season before deciding on whether to extend his contract. But his loyalty and work behind the scenes at the club hasn’t gone down and the player has been instrumental in bringing in Club’s new Director of Football Operations, Matt Crocker.
Saints’ striker Michael Obafemi is determined not to let the St Mary’s side’s setback against West Ham get in the way of their quest for a top-half finish. Despite the West Ham loss, Obafemi hopes they can return to winning way against Newcastle and make a push for the Europa League places.
Michael Obafemi said “It doesn’t matter where we get the wins or losses because, ultimately, we want to win and challenge for the European places. We are aware of the fixtures we have, and we know they aren’t going to be easy but we need to stay positive. (On West Ham loss) I’d say we were in control throughout the game but the long balls got away from us. We need to go back, rebuild and go again against Newcastle. it was good to get the goal and equalise, but it didn’t mean anything in the end.”
Saints are currently three points shy of 10th-place Arsenal but the Gunners have a game in hand over the south coast outfit.