Ralph Hasenhuttl wants to show returning fans how far Southampton have come

Ralph Hasenhuttl hopes Southampton fans will see first-hand how far his side have come when they return to St Mary’s Stadium for the visit of Sheffield United on Sunday.

The Saints picked up from where they left off following Project Restart and have built a run of just one defeat in the past nine matches – and that came in stoppage time against Manchester United.

During their upturn in form, Southampton briefly went top of the Premier League for the first time in the club’s history, a memorable moment in which their supporters were not able to share.

Southampton’s home form had proved something of a millstone earlier in Hasenhuttl’s tenure, the low point of which was a 9-0 thrashing by Leicester in a televised Friday night match during October 2019.

The turnaround under the Austrian has been impressive, and Hasenhuttl is determined to make sure the 2,000 Saints fans get plenty to cheer about again on Sunday.

“It will be different for them because it was a long time since they have been with us so we are happy that they are coming back,” Hasenhuttl said.

“I don’t see our home as that bad to be honest because, I mean, we had a few difficult games yes, in the past, but in the past four or five months we have been also winning our games at home.

“I think it wasn’t a problem of home and away, we generally did not play consistently good like we do now.

“That is the reason we are in a much better position in the table and we want to show them what we have learned.

“We want to show them how good we are and want to give them the best Sunday that is possible.”

Hasenhuttl added: “We have had some good performances, which are based on hard work and we have had a better start than we did last season, although after the first two league games, it did not look like it.

“What we are doing now is we are playing in a way that we did after lockdown, when we took a lot of points.

“We expected to have a better season and not be part of the relegation battle, but we are only a third of the way through the league (season).

“It is only the start, but they cannot take these points off our count and we have to add more as soon as possible.

“We have a fantastic points average of nearly two points per game and that is normally the average for a Champions League spot, but we know where we are coming from and what we have to do.”

Despite Sheffield United’s troubles, having lost six straight Premier League games, Hasenhuttl continues to stress they must not be underestimated.

“We know you never have an easy game against such teams so we must be very concentrated, very committed,” he said.

“In the end we have to have our best game to win three points.”