Hasenhuttl determined to push Southampton to new limits

Ralph Hasenhuttl intends to keep pushing Southampton’s limits as he looks to build on a first year in charge.

The Austrian was brought in last December following the departure of Mark Hughes and managed to guide the club to Premier League safety.

Following a testing run of eight games without a win – which saw a 9-0 home defeat by Leicester – the Saints have pulled themselves out of the relegation zone after back-to-back victories over strugglers Watford and Norwich.

Former RB Leipzig coach Hasenhuttl has no regrets over swapping the Bundesliga for the hustle and bustle of England’s top flight – which continues with a trip to Newcastle on Sunday.

“It was not tougher than I expected because I knew that the Premier League is a big challenge, especially for club like we are, and it was clear from the the first moment that it would be a difficult time,” Hasenhuttl said.

“I knew what I would do when I was coming here, I knew that we have our limits and we tried to push these limits as high as possible.

“We were not competitive in every period of the last season and this season, it was was the same and is not easier.

“We always have periods where we are really struggling and to keep minimising these periods, I think, must be the goal for the future.”

Hasenhuttl said at a press conference broadcast on Southampton’s website: “The Premier League is getting better and better again and the other clubs have big opportunities.

“We must follow them, but go our own way. We do it with a special way and I think everybody knows that philosophy from this club.

“This is not an easy one – we must work hard to push our limits and develop our young players.

“In the end, to stay in the league, this is the first goal we have.”

Hasenhuttl helped guide RB Leipzig to second place in the Bundesliga during the 2016-2017 season, before leaving in May 2018 ahead of the arrival of incoming boss Julian Nagelsmann.

Despite the challenges at St Mary’s Stadium, the 52-year-old maintains he has a “fantastic job”.

He said: “I was managing in the Champions League and sure it is at big, big grounds where you play, but it doesn’t make it less fun to work here.

“Maybe we would have won a little bit more games and then we won here, but in the end, I must say that I enjoy this job very, very much here.

“I am very thankful that I am managing in the Premier League.”

Winger Sofiane Boufal continues to recover from stubbing his big toe on the kitchen table at home, but could be back in full training ahead of Sunday’s match.

“We must pay attention because such an injury can take a long time if you are not careful,” Hasenhuttl said.