Ralph Hasenhuttl says Southampton’s players cannot expect unconditional support

Ralph Hasenhuttl insists Southampton’s players cannot expect unconditional support from the club’s success-starved home fans.

Saints left the field to cheers of relief on Saturday after coming from behind to beat fellow strugglers Watford 2-1 and pick up a first victory at St Mary’s since April.

Hasenhuttl’s relegation-threatened side had been booed off at the break following a flat first-half display, which for much of the match was matched by the mood in the stands.

Jeers from the terraces have been a regular feature for the south-coast club this term following a series of dismal displays and disappointing results.

Saints boss Hassenhuttl, who saw Danny Ings and James Ward-Prowse strike in the final 12 minutes to defeat the Hornets and ease mounting pressure, believes it is the responsibility of his team to spark a positive atmosphere.

“We need chances to lift them. When we had a small one they were immediately there. We have to create them,” said Hasenhuttl.

“You cannot demand them supporting you if you don’t show them anything.

“You have to show and then you get something and in the second half we showed and they were immediately there and this is what lifts everybody.

“At first we must look at us – what we can do better – and then the rest comes.”

Southampton’s overdue victory ended an eight-match winless run on home soil and was a first success in nine top-flight fixtures.

Saints supporters have witnessed just 10 home wins from 45 league matches dating back to the start of the 2017-18 campaign, including the tenures of Mauricio Pellegrino and Mark Hughes.

After falling behind to Ismaila Sarr’s maiden Premier League goal, the hosts were much-improved in the second period and their sustained pressure eventually paid off.

Hasenhuttl hopes his 18th-placed side can replicate their second-half performance on Wednesday when they host second-bottom Norwich in another crunch clash.

“We have chances to take points every weekend and we must be more brave,” he said.

“And when we are that then we have our quality to score and our quality to win games.

“Now we have a big home game against Norwich where we must do it again.”